coral trade

Tom Hourigan Tom.Hourigan at
Mon Dec 8 17:34:20 EST 1997

     Just a small correction on the discussion posted on corals and the 
     Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and 
     Fauna (CITES).  As noted by Don McAllister, most corals are included 
     in CITES Appendix II.  This includes all species in the Orders 
     Coenothecalia (e.g., blue corals), Antipatheria (black corals), 
     Scleratinia (the reef-building stony corals); and all species in the 
     families Tubiporidae, Milleporidae (e.g., the fire corals) and 

     Appendix II of CITES regulates trade in species not threatened with 
     extinction, but which may become threatened if trade goes unregulated. 
      This is in contrast with Appendix I, which protects threatened 
     species (e.g., rhinos) from all international commercial trade. 

     An exporter must obtain a CITES export permit for each shipment from the 
     national CITES authority (in the U.S. this is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
     Service).  In order to issue an export permit, the CITES authority must two 

        1)  A scientific finding of non-detriment indicating that export is 
     unlikely to be detrimental to the survival of the species; and 
        2)  A finding that the specimens were acquired legally.

     When properly applied, CITES can be one of the most important tools to 
     help countries sustainably manage their natural heritage.  Full 
     implementation, however requires good training and enforcement - which 
     is often difficult for developing countries with limited resources. It 
     is likely that corals are lower on the list of priorities for many 
     countries than are more easily visible terrestrial species.

     Fiji is due to become a Party to CITES before the end of the year, at 
     which time CITES will have 143 members.  Indonesia IS a Party, having 
     ratified in 1979.  Fijian government officials are concerned about the 
     growing trade in corals, as are an increasing number of scientists and 
     and resource managers in many countries.

     Hope this is helpful,


     Thomas F. Hourigan, Ph.D.
     Biodiversity Specialist
     Office of Protected Resources
     1315 East-West Highway
     Silver Spring, MD 20910
     Tel: (301) 713-2319;  Fax: (301) 713-0376
     Tom.Hourigan at

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: coral trade
Author:  carlson at at EXTERNAL 
Date:    12/5/97 2:21 PM


Corals are protected by the Convention on the International Trade in 
Endangered Species (CITES).  However, countries such as Indonesia and
Fiji have not signed this treaty.  Corals can be collected and shipped out 
of these countries legally to the United States and elsewhere although 
some documentation that the collecting has not harmed the natural 
population is required by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.  I'm not an 
expert on this area but that is my general understanding.

As for Coral Farms, we have one here and there are several others 
operating in the United States.  Under the right conditions (either 
artifical or natural as in our case), Acropora corals and other branching 
species are about as difficult to grow as crabgrass and with growth rates 
up to 20cm per year we have more of a problem disposing of the excess 
growth.  We began growing corals here in 1977 and now maintain 75
species (including some of the original colonies).  We provide living 
corals to researchers (most recently for toxicology tests), and to other 
public aquariums in the US.  Many public aquariums in the US are beginning 
to grow their own corals and this trend will increase as our techniques 
continue to improve.

For anyone else out there receiving this message, the Waikiki Aquarium is 
not a commerical supplier of corals.  We do not have enough staff to
pack and ship corals to everyone who asks for them.

Bruce Carlson
Waikiki Aquarium

On Fri, 5 Dec 1997, Francesca Marubini wrote:

> Dear coral-listers,
> I would like to know what is the general opinion on the increasing trade in 
> hermatypic corals for private aquaria. Is it regulated by any international 
> law? If it is illegal to collect corals in many countries, why is it legal 
> (at least in UK and Italy, where I have checked) to import and sell live
> coral which presumably comes from natural reefs? Are there any 'coral farms'? 
> Sincerely
> Francesca Marubini
> please reply directly to me at : f.marubini at 

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