Global Trade in Coral

BobFenner at BobFenner at
Sun Feb 27 23:02:08 EST 2000

In a message dated 2/25/00 5:06:08 AM Pacific Standard Time, edg at 

<< Subj:     Global Trade in Coral
 Date:  2/25/00 5:06:08 AM Pacific Standard Time
 From:  edg at (Ed Green)
 To:    bobfenner at

 Dear Bob

 Thank you for posting the url to your review of the trade report, and for 
your personnal perspective on it.

 Obviously there is much in the details over we would disagree to no clear 

<Let's' hash these out... if ever there was a forum... this certainly appears 
to be it currently... Ivory tower, civil servants, folks hoping to join them, 
hobbyists, culturists, extractors, folks with a parochial interest... What 
don't we agree on?>

However I would reply to your review with a comment which applies not only to 
the coral report, but to the subject of information on the aquarium trade as 
a whole. It is the lack of quantitative data, or analyses based on 
quantitative data, on aspects of the marine ornamental trade which means that 
opinion is directed more by guesswork than fact. 

If this eventually materialises in unnecessarily strigent restrictions on the 
trade, and there appear to be many who believe that management authorities 
are moving in this direction, then it would be to the detriment of the 
hobbyists and collectors' livelihoods alike. I would illustrate this with two 
criticisms which you levy at the coral trade report. 

 1. "These establishments [Quality Marine in the U.S. and Tropical Marine 
Centre in the U.K] are inarguably the best of their kind, and receive much 
better, larger livestock than the vast majority of marine livestock 
wholesalers" - well if so how much smaller are the items received by lesser 
traders? Until a similar number of corals are measured from other sources I 
will stand by our measurements as being representative.

<Easily half  to two-thirds less in weight and displacement... Order the 
organisms yourself under a DBA and you'll discover this to be so... I have 
spent the last 34 years in the ornamental aquatics trade... I will gladly 
take you about (the InterZoo in May could open your eyes immediately...>

 2. "The calculated export value of live stony corals at $5 million U.S. for 
all collecting countries is fallacious. Within the scope of even just my 
travels to these countries and their collecting stations I assure you this 
number is way too low". - well if so, what is the value of of the exports? We 
present one way of calculating it, how would you calculate the value 

<Probably an order of magnitude greater than this value... I know this to be 
so not simply from inference (the number of tons, pieces back-figured times 
the going rates per piece...) There are some suppliers that alone ship more 
than this dollar equivalent... at the local level of income...>

 In summary one should not base global assessments of issues such as this on 
personal opinion. 

<Sir, we are not delving in speculation here... simple fact>

I am quite prepared to compare our methods and conclusions against different 
approaches but think that such comparison only stands up when the alternative 
is also based on sound quantitative data.


 Dr. Edmund Green
 Head, Marine and Coastal Programme
 World Conservation Monitoring Centre
 219 Huntingdon Road
 CB3 0DL
 United Kingdom

 Tel: (44) 1223 277314
 Fax: (44) 1223 277136
 E mail: at
<And I am agreeable to any further discourse on this subject, a review of 
methodologies... and introducing you to my trade, in earnest.
Robert (Bob) Fenner>

More information about the Coral-list-old mailing list