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- I think we should be snorkeling and swimming on reefs. Because I think people only develop a passion for protecting things if they know what is at risk. I would hardly be one to say that we shouldn’t go near them. That said, its important to manage tourism properly. If you have a lot of people going onto reefs, stepping on reefs, collecting things from reefs, breaking corals off, or throwing anchors on top of reefs, that’s not good. It’s important to properly manage the numbers of people and their behavior when they’re in water. It’s also important to make sure that the hotels that support that tourism have good water treatment for the sewage that they release, and that they aren’t also feeding this large population of visitors critically important reef fish. That is ecologically sound tourism. But you can’t just let it develop willy-nilly. It has to be managed carefully. Otherwise, you end up with lots of people and not much reef.
- Nancy Knowlton (September 2008)