Japanese Corals in Pet Shops

Bob Jenkins bjenkins at calacademy.org
Thu Aug 3 13:34:27 EDT 2000


The Japan Times: Aug. 3, 2000
Rare corals sold in pet shops contributing to species'

Various types of live coral from coastal areas in
Japan, including rare species, are being sold in pet
shops in and around Tokyo, a group monitoring wildlife
trafficking said Wednesday.

A survey conducted by the Japan office of the Trade
Records Analysis Flora and Fauna in Commerce found
that up to 60 species of coral were being sold in one
shop alone, with the highest price for one piece being
40,000 yen.

<P>This deer's-horn coral can be seen at a Tokyo

Coral does not survive in standard fish tanks. In
conjunction with experts, the group confirmed 12 of
the 16 pet and tropical fish shops they visited in
Tokyo, Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures sold coral from
such coastal areas as the Kii Peninsula, Shikoku and
Kumamoto Prefecture. Among those on display were rare

There are almost no regulations controlling the coral
trade in Japan. The number of enthusiasts keeping
coral in their own tanks has increased over the past
couple of years, and rare species are advertised on
Web sites, the group said.

Members of the group and the World Wide Fund for
Nature submitted petitions Wednesday to the
environment and fisheries agencies asking them to
conduct detailed examinations of the coral trade.

They said the trade in coral damages its habitats,
which have been shrinking due to increasing
environmental destruction.

Even though prefectures such as Tokyo and Okinawa ban
the collection of coral by divers not engaged in the
fisheries business, authorities cannot establish a
case unless they catch perpetrators red-handed.

Aquarium officials said the indiscriminate hunting of
coral has been increasing.

(C) All rights reserved

Robert L. Jenkins, Director, Steinhart Aquarium

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