Global Trade in Coral

BobFenner at BobFenner at
Mon Feb 28 14:44:40 EST 2000

In a message dated 2/28/00 12:49:13 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
gregorh at writes:

<< Subj:     Re: Global Trade in Coral
 Date:  2/28/00 12:49:13 AM Pacific Standard Time
 From:  gregorh at (Gregor Hodgson)
 To:    BobFenner at


 Ed Green is a good guy and a very straight shooter -- this doesn't mean that 
 doesn't have an agenda. We all do. He is trying to help bring attention to 
 problems facing coral reefs. If things get worse, the regulations on aquarium
 trade will be tighter and folks like you will suffer. By working with people 
 Ed and Paul Holthus, it could help you a lot because they have a lot of
 credibility. I think Ed is just telling you that he understands that the 
 may be off, but they were all that were available, this was a first attempt, 
 he would like to see some factual evidence of other numbers that support your
 claims rather than just your opinion before he changes his tune.

<And I appreciate your input, and understand the implications here. As an 
industry person, human, scientist as well. I in turn, only wish to make known 
what needs to be... and gladly offer, and have done so to Paul Holthus/MAC 
any/all assistance I might avail them (free use of images, articles, book 
sections...) that might aid in the collection of only the most suitable 
species, best methods for their capture, holding, shipping and general 

 I'm sure he would be happy to admit he was wrong if you can show him the
 evidence. Try to lower your "dukes" and work with the guy. It will be to your


<Again, thank you... Find a little "drama" stimulating in these regards... 
But am jjustifiably defensive in the ever-diffident finger pointed at the 
"non science" parts of the human experience...  May I ask you, why isn't it 
these same "public servants" (for the most part) don't come forward with 
revelations as to their "employers" as the principal root causes of habitat 
destruction? E.g., is it too personally painful to admit that oil, trash, 
human wastes vented from "military" sources, errant anchoring, cruise ship 
accidents and practices, recreational diving, two-stroke outboard use, jet 
boat blending of the uppermost water column, coral-making of cements/hydrated 
calcium silicates,  dwarf "pet-fish" influences in reef destruction? Are the 
"curio and ornamental" coral trades just too easy, too visible a 
target/smokescreen for bureaucrats and administrator/scientists?
    Perhaps a slightly more humorous/humourous tack at outlawing scarids on 
reefs would be a better use of my time? I can see (and supply the images for) 
the poster now!
Be chatting,
Bob Fenner, who suspects he is, indeed, in the "same corner" as "you" folks.

 BobFenner at wrote:

 > In a message dated 2/25/00 5:06:08 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
edg at
 > writes:
 > << 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
 > conclusion.
 > <Let's' hash these out... if ever there was a forum... this certainly 
 > to be it currently... Ivory tower, civil servants, folks hoping to join 
 > 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 
 > the coral report, but to the subject of information on the aquarium trade 
 > a whole. It is the lack of quantitative data, or analyses based on
 > quantitative data, on aspects of the marine ornamental trade which means 
 > opinion is directed more by guesswork than fact.
 > If this eventually materialises in unnecessarily strigent restrictions on 
 > 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 
 > 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. 
 > 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? 
 > present one way of calculating it, how would you calculate the value
 > differently?
 > <Probably an order of magnitude greater than this value... I know this to 
 > 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 
 > personal opinion.
 > <Sir, we are not delving in speculation here... simple fact>
 > I am quite prepared to compare our methods and conclusions against 
 > approaches but think that such comparison only stands up when the 
 > is also based on sound quantitative data.
 >  Thanks,
 >  Ed.
 >  Dr. Edmund Green
 >  Head, Marine and Coastal Programme
 >  World Conservation Monitoring Centre
 >  219 Huntingdon Road
 >  Cambridge
 >  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.
 > Sir,
 > Robert (Bob) Fenner>

 Gregor Hodgson, PhD
 Coordinator, Reef Check Global Survey Program
 GPO Box 12375, Hong Kong
 Tel: (852) 2802-6937
 Fax: (852) 2887-5454
 Email: gregorh at


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