[Coral-List] Aquacultured Corals?

Michele & Karl michka at fellenius.net
Fri Feb 22 18:11:57 EST 2008


Just a correction in regards to Vanuatu. Fisheries regs here do not require,
but only encourage F2. Also, while one coral culture operation here did
practice responsible aquaculture up until a year ago, both coral companies
are now unfortunately chop-shop. The company that slid into unsustainable
practices over the last year is now taking frags that represent 1 to 2
years of growth and shipping them out within a few months after setting on
cement. They also eliminated their soft coral aquaculture efforts in favour
of wild harvesting and have accelerated their associated invertebrate
collections considerably. One mitigating factor is that at least they are
not destroying and chopping up colonies in one go like the practices of the
other, more established operator.

Inadequate monitoring of coral culture operators by Fisheries departments is
the problem. Operators know they won't check, so they have little incentive
to ensure that frags taken off colonies are not exported until the mother
colony has re-grown to its original state.



Karl Fellenius, Director &
Michele Dricot, Manager

Vaughani Shores Vanuatu
Pangona Estates, Efate
Postal Box 3158
Port Vila

office       +678 29273 (AWARE)
mobileK   +678 73329
mobileM  +678 73326
email       VaughaniShores at vanuatu.com.vu
web         http://www.diveVanuatu.org

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <delbeek at waquarium.org>
To: "Don Baker" <reefpeace at yahoo.com>; <Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2008 7:22 PM
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Aquacultured Corals?

> Don Baker <reefpeace at yahoo.com> said:
>> Hello All:
>> In November 2006, I attended the KL  Convention Centre, Malaysia,
>> Aqua-Fair
> and so noted what was being  addressed as "Aquacultured Corals" - from Sin
> gapore and KL, Malaysia suppliers.
>> What is happening?  Eight to 10 inch live coral branches are simply being
>> s
> napped off 'mother corals' from the wild and  glued to artificial bases
> and
> coined immediately as 'cultured.'   And then we hear of hundreds of 'aquac
> ultured corals' landing in Canada each week?   I would question this as
> the
> re are only a few real & present coral farms operating.  Indonesia?  They
> d
> o the above method but in the field...and within only a few weeks they
> ship
> them out as 'cultured.'
>> I strongly support MAC to address this issue and nail the suppliers and
>> shi
> ppers as the outfits that are truly trying to culture live corals are
> serio
> usly and economically sidelined....as in Me for one....that is starting up
> a farm in Sabah, Malaysia!  We intend to use larvae settlement on the
> annua
> l July spawns to culture our own 'mother colonies' in which we will
> nurture
> until we can viably obtain cuttings and fragment branches for F2.  Our Bre
> ad & Butter while we wait for growth will be other species.
>> These same Asian outfits are also coloring their corals, whereas, I saw
>> bri
> ght red, pink, orange Acropora.
>> I think we all need to address this feature as well guys!
>> Don Baker
> Aloha Don,
> The issues you mention are of real concern. One of the sources of
> aquacultured
> corals I mentioned in my post going into Toronto come from a coral farm in
> Vanuatu. Regulations there do not allow for the simple "chop shop"
> operation
> that you describe but instead require that only corals that are F2
> cuttings
> can be classified as aquacultured. Unfortunately, this takes time and thus
> adds cost, therefore these corals then must compete in the marketplace
> with
> other fragments that are prepared as you described but sell for less.
> There were similar operations in the Solomon Islands, where colonies were
> collected and chopped into smaller pieces, affixed to concrete plugs then
> grown out in the ocean for 4-6 months before export.
> However, one can also argue that from a few dozen baseball sized heads,
> hundreds of fragments can be generated in this manner that themselves will
> grow into small heads before export thus preventing wild collection of
> such
> pieces. When it comes to fast growing branching corals such as Acropora, I
> don't know that this is necessarily a bad thing. I would argue that if
> done
> responsibly, collecting branches from wild mother colonies of Acropora is
> most
> likely sustainable given the sheer volume of coral and their growth rates;
> removed branches will be regrown and often by more than one branch from
> the
> place of detachment. What is not acceptable, in my opinion, is the removal
> of
> colonies from the reef, their transport to the coral farm location and
> then
> their systematic "dismantling" into fragments. Leaving the mother colonies
> in
> place, or growing mother colonies at the site of the farm (if possible) is
> the
> best option I feel. However, I understand your frustration in trying to
> compete with "chop shops" when trying to do what you are, it is the same
> situation the Vanuatu operation faces on the importing side, its hard to
> compete when the playing field is not level. Perhaps this is an area where
> can encourage coral exporting countries to come to an agreement on a
> definition as to what "aquacultured" actually means when it comes to
> corals.
> But one should also look at the numbers and the genera that are being
> targeted
> by the aquarium trade to see that these fast growing, branching species
> are
> not the major genera being exported directly from the wild, it is the more
> massive Euphyllia, Catalaphyllia, Trachyphyllia, Goniopora, Favia,
> Turbinaria
> and Acanthastrea that are being most exported. In my opinion, these are
> the
> corals we need to be working hard to determine how to propagate sexually
> for
> the aquarium trade, not the easily asexually propagated branching genera
> such
> as Acropora, that is where the most demand is.
> The artificial colouring of corals has been seen at importers in the US as
> far
> back as 2003 and has been reported in the aquarium literature and on
> online
> forums. MAC is also aware of this practice. Perhaps Svein Fossa of MAC can
> comment on this?
> Aloha!
> Charles
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