Trade in corals.

John Ware jware at
Mon Feb 14 08:04:03 EST 2000

Dear List:

Some years ago, after having been told all sorts of conflicting stories
concerning rules, regulations, and laws concerning the importation of
corals and coral products [e.g., Importation is permitted if the coral
has been 'worked' into jewelry, or importation is permitted for
'personal use'], I decided to contact the source of knowledge.  Under
the presumption that the authority for enforcing whatever regulations
there may be lay with the US Customs Service, I made numerous phone
calls to the Service and talked to countless people.  

The net result was frustration.  I was handed from person to person,
none of whom had the slightest notion as to whether there were any rules
regarding corals or not, or even who I should contact as the proper
authority. While other agencies may set the rules or have some sort of
authority with regard to enforcement, the fact that Customs, which is
the front line in enforcement, is working from a position of ignorance
would seem to mitigate whatever regulations are or may be in existence.

In addition, it would appear that any exploitation rule that was species
specific would require enforcement by personnel trained in
identification of coral species from skeletal remains.  A daunting task
even for experts, particularly if the skeleton has been altered.

Does anyone on the coral list *know* what rules, laws, or regulations
apply to importation of coral (including soft corals) into the United
States, whether for personal or commercial use?  If the rules could be
expressed in a few hundred words (a few dozen would be better), I am
sure the List would be interested.

Dive safe,

     *                                                           *
     *                       John R. Ware, PhD                   *
     *                          President                        *
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