Grand Cayman's coral reefs must not be destroyed

Story highlights

  • The government of Grand Cayman is considering a huge pier development plan
  • Ellen Prager, Steven Miller, Carl Safina: Plan to relocate coral reefs is bad and impossible

Dr. Ellen Prager is a marine scientist, author, president of Earth2Ocean Inc. and a Safina Center fellow. Dr. Steven Miller is a senior research scientist at Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center. Dr. Carl Safina holds the endowed chair for nature and mumanity at Stony Brook University on Long Island, where he runs the Safina Center. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the authors.

(CNN)Once upon a time, on a small island in the Caribbean, there was a picturesque harbor and lovely town overlooking clear emerald-blue waters and spectacular coral reefs. Visitors enjoyed dining at waterside restaurants, diving, snorkeling, glass bottom boat rides and even a submarine tour of the nearby reefs. Local businesses thrived and made millions of dollars each year through tourist activities.

One day, the government decided to build a massive dock and pier to make cruise ship visits more efficient and to lure in larger vessels. They destroyed a historic shipwreck, acres of living coral reef and left the harbor