Saving the Coral

by Custom Media
BSAC International Executive Director Deric Ellerby and Pan-Pacific President Norimasa HashitaniGlobal conservation declaration signed in Kyoto

At the signing of the Kyoto International Declaration 2010 for coral conservation on June 19, a conference heard how more than 1 billion people worldwide use coral reefs for food, income, work or protection of the land environment — and how their livelihoods are under serious threat.

The declaration aims to promote the conservation of ecologically important coral reefs and help meet government targets of reducing CO2 levels and suppressing rising sea temperatures.

More than 100 delegates attended from Japan, South Korea, China, the UK and Thailand.

Tomizou Sunagawa, an Okinawan fisherman, received warm applause after he gave a passionate update on the situation in Miyakojima — and appealed to governments, individuals and organizations worldwide to help save the fragile coral.

The conference, organized by BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club) — the UK-based national governing body for diving that provides internationally recognised training and development programs for 40,000 members in 86 countries—agreed policies for coral conservation, exterminating the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci), and cleaning beaches to fulfil environmental preservation targets.

An early air of pessimism turned positive as delegates revealed ongoing efforts to preserve and expand the growth of coral reefs and the progress being made.

Norimasa Hashitani, president of Osaka-based BSAC Pan-Pacific, said: “The BSAC mission is not only about making scuba-diving more accessible. An important part of our mission lies in the protection of the marine environment, ensuring that the unbounded richness of the seas is passed on to future generations. We have been using our vast experience, through BSAC and our other networks in Asia, to carry out preservation activities and raise awareness of coral in Japan and the Pacific Rim. We believe the protection of our beautiful marine environment enables local tourism and fishing industries to flourish whilst also significantly contributing to regional development.

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