coral trade

Bruce Carlson carlson at
Fri Dec 5 13:49:53 EST 1997


Corals are protected by the Convention on the International Trade in
Endangered Species (CITES).  However, countries such as Indonesia and
Fiji have not signed this treaty.  Corals can be collected and shipped out
of these countries legally to the United States and elsewhere although
some documentation that the collecting has not harmed the natural
population is required by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.  I'm not an
expert on this area but that is my general understanding.

As for Coral Farms, we have one here and there are several others
operating in the United States.  Under the right conditions (either
artifical or natural as in our case), Acropora corals and other branching
species are about as difficult to grow as crabgrass and with growth rates
up to 20cm per year we have more of a problem disposing of the excess
growth.  We began growing corals here in 1977 and now maintain 75
species (including some of the original colonies).  We provide living
corals to researchers (most recently for toxicology tests), and to other
public aquariums in the US.  Many public aquariums in the US are beginning
to grow their own corals and this trend will increase as our techniques
continue to improve.

For anyone else out there receiving this message, the Waikiki Aquarium is
not a commerical supplier of corals.  We do not have enough staff to
pack and ship corals to everyone who asks for them.

Bruce Carlson
Waikiki Aquarium

On Fri, 5 Dec 1997, Francesca Marubini wrote:

> Dear coral-listers,
> I would like to know what is the general opinion on the increasing trade in
> hermatypic corals for private aquaria. Is it regulated by any international
> law? If it is illegal to collect corals in many countries, why is it legal
> (at least in UK and Italy, where I have checked) to import and sell live
> coral which presumably comes from natural reefs? Are there any 'coral farms'? 
> Sincerely
> Francesca Marubini
> please reply directly to me at : f.marubini at

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