[Coral-List] Selling Coral from the Great Barrier Reef

Kerrigan, Brigid Brigid.Kerrigan at dpi.qld.gov.au
Thu Feb 14 21:52:53 EST 2008

In response to concerns expressed by coral listers re the collection of
ornamental corals from the Australian Great Barrier Reef I have provided
a brief summary of the fishery and management arrangements. 

The Queensland Government through the Department of Primary Industries
and Fisheries and in collaboration with the Great Barrier Reef Marine
Park Authority authorises the collection of corals for the purposes of
sale. The Queensland Coral Fishery is managed through legislation and
http://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/F/FisherR95.pdf and

The Queensland Coral Fishery is accredited through the Environmental
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as an approved
Wildlife Trade Operation (WTO). The Fishery is composed of a small
number of operators who provide a limited amount of quality live corals
and ornamental corals for the domestic and international markets. The
fishery is tightly controled and monitored to ensure the take of corals
is ecologically sustainable.

The Fishery is a small scale limited entry fishery. Only 59 Commercial
Harvest Fishery Licences (CHFLs) are endorsed to operate within the
fishery. There are limits on the number of boats and collectors
operating under a licence at any one time. Collection is by hand or
hand-held implements only, with the aid of artificial breathing
apparatus allowed.

The take of coral is capped with an annual Total Allowable Catch (TAC)of
200t: 30% of the TAC can be taken as live coral, 70% of the TAC can be
taken as live rock (dead coral skeletons encrusted with algae/coraline
paint) and ornamental coral. In 2006/2007 season about 94 tonnes was
landed: which included approx. 70 tonnes of live rock and 10 tonnes of
ornamental coral (coral collected live and dried for the ornamental

Due to the strong market demand for live corals for use in private
aquaria, key target species are generally the small and vibrant
varieties of coral. Live rock is also a major component of the fishery,
due to its suitability as a substrate for the smaller, brighter corals
in aquarium tanks. Anemones (Order Actinaria) are also part of the coral
fishery and are a key target group.

Coral taxa from over 36 families are harvested for the live aquarium
trade. Coral families targeted for the non-living, ornamental coral
trade include:
*	Pocilloporodae (cauliflower/bird's nest corals)
*	Acroporidae (staghorn/velvet corals)


Coral may only be taken by hand or by using hand-held non-mechanical
implements, such as a hammer and chisel. Licence holders may also use
underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA or hookah) when taking coral.
Where a chisel is used, divers endeavour to remove only the coral
itself, taking great care to minimise the amount of substrate that is
taken or damaged. These removal methods reduce freight costs (less
weight and volume) and also limit the environmental footprint of their


The coral fishery focuses on the collection of coral specimens for
commercial and private marine aquariums and to supply a small trade in
decorative souvenirs and ornaments. Currently more than 80 per cent of
all coral harvested goes into the aquarium trade. Although a significant
Australian industry, the QCF is not considered one of the major
exporters of hard and soft corals and living rock on the world scale
(Wabnitz et al. 2003). Given the size of harvest relative to the
resource and the quota control of coral amounts being harvested,
Queensland's coral fishery is one of the lowest impact coral fisheries
on an international level. The emphasis of the fishery is on quality
rather than quantity, which contributes to both the ecological and
economic sustainability of the fishery.

If anyone is interested in further discussions regarding the management
and operation of this fishery please contact me
brigid.kerrigan at dpi.qld.gov.au

Dr Brigid Kerrigan

Manager Reef Line & Harvest Fisheries
Fisheries Resource Management
Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries
80 Ann Street
Brisbane Q. 4001

Phone: (+61 7) 3225 1844
Fax: (+61 7) 3229 8146
Mobile: 0412 348 736

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