coral trade

Douglas Fenner DFenner at
Fri Dec 5 14:23:41 EST 1997

   I would like to add to what has already been said on the coral trade
that in some locations the sale of coral is legal as long as it was not
collected locally.  So, in the Cayman Islands, collecting black coral is
strictly illegal, but the sale of black coral jewelry from imported coral
is quite legal and widely advertised.  I believe in Florida the sale of
Florida corals is illegal, but the shops are full of imported corals.

   Second, I would point out that customs officials may feel they have
higher priorities than searching for corals, such as looking for drugs and
agricultural pests that can cost a country billions; they may be
understaffed to do much more.  However, officials have recently decided to
search packages going to the Smithsonian coral collection for scientific
work and demand full paperwork for corals donated years ago.  Corals
weighing a few grams dredged from 2000 m depth for scientific purposes
require the same paperwork as a truckload of reef corals going to a shell
shop for sale as door stops.  It would seem that the letter of the law is
being enforced instead of the spirit.  Hampering scientific work may not
assist conservation.

   You can read about aquarium-grown corals for sale at the following web

Douglas Fenner  DFenner at

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