Coral Harvesting - Fiji.
fpl10 at calva.net
Sat Aug 7 11:37:59 EDT 1999
Hi Maureen &All,
This subject is a major interest and concern for me, as a Diver and
Hobbyist (there is clearly a conflict there for me)
You guys in Fiji and in other places with corals reefs, have the choice
- stop coral harvesting to protect coral reefs (but there was already
debates about how useful it is to considere coral reefs as LOCAL resources
to ensure that LOCAL people take care).
- Launch Coral farming operations and prevent wild uncontroled harvesting
- Keep the things as they are now
I fully agree with Mike and I just would like to add that, after my last
dives in Fiji, 2 months ago, I saw places that have been shaked by storms,
and where you can see a huge number of broken colonies, upside down, lying
in the sand and dying, killing unbroken colonies sometimes. So, couldn't it
be possible to collect broken small fragments to feed coral frams, and at
the same time (same people also) restaure reefs by cleaning broken reefs
and taking care of big broken colonies that should remain on the reef ?
I feel that there are two ways of taking care of reefs and reef life : one
is to fight against things that are killing the reefs, but it takes a long
time.. and during this time, we could help reefs and local people to
Hope it helps
>I wanted to add my comments as an informed and concerned hobbyist.
>There is little doubt that coral collection *could* harm a reef if
>the collection pressure is high enough. The vast majority of corals
>coming into the US still seem to be those physically chipped off the
>reef, as Julian described. My feeling is that 'normal' collection
>pressure would likely influence species composition, though likely
>not overall biomass.
>What is more disturbing, frankly, is the attitudes of the stores here
>in the US- As you likely already know, there are alternatives to
>the collection as outlined above. There is a 'farming' operation in
>the Solomon Islands where local women go collect some small fragments
>off the reef itself (i.e. the equivalent of storm damage) and bring
>them back to mount on small cement disks. These are then grown out
>in a local lagoon for 3 to 6 months and then harvested.
>What is most amazing about these cultured colonies is that their
>rate of shipping death is amazingly low- typically well under 1%,
>assuming no delays in shipping. Compare that with chipped off colony
>corals- I think we are happy to see only a 10% loss, and they are
>often much higher: 40 to 80% is not that uncommon.
>Yet even given the low rate of loss, most retailers will not carry
>cultured corals. They are 'too small' or 'too expensive': even though
>wholesale they are but a buck or two higher in cost...
>Many of the more informed hobbyists have taken a course of 'no wild
>caught colonies, period'. My own tank has maybe three colonies- the
>others are all grown from fragments given to me by other hobbyists,
>either for cash or trade. However, we are but a few, and seem to
>have the entire industry against us.
>I would love to see countries like Fiji get to the point where they
>limit wild coral collection to a few thousand colonies a year, or
>even shut it down completely, but encourage the creation of cultured
>coral 'farms' as an alternative. I think it would be in everyone's
>best interests. The US would be forced to import these ecologically
>sound alternatives, Fijian collectors could become farmers, and the
>'industry' would still have access to corals. Everyone wins.
>I do hope that this post was helpful to you.
>At 10:33 AM 8/6/99 +0000, you wrote:
>>There is currently a huge debate in Fiji with regards to Coral
>>harvesting in Fiji. A paper was commissioned by the Fisheries
>>Department and the industry to address the issue.
>>Recommendation is to allow the industry to go ahead and there is a
>>lot of concern in the country about the potential damage to the
>>country. However support is divided between those who support the
>>industry and those that don't. Fiji is becoming one of the biggest
>>exporters if not the biggest exporter of coral products and there is
>>concern regarding the damage that is done to the natural environment
>>which has not been adequately dealt with in the report.
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