mortality in the coral trade

BobFenner at BobFenner at
Thu Aug 31 12:54:53 EDT 2000

In a message dated 8/31/00 9:22:41 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
gidw at writes:

<< Subj:     mortality in the coral trade
 Date:  8/31/00 9:22:41 AM Pacific Daylight Time
 From:  gidw at (gidon winters)
 Sender:    owner-coral-list at
 To:    coral-list at

 Hi to all from the Red Sea in Israel
 regarding coral trade, does anyone know/have any info on the percent of
 corals (out of the total harvested) that die during the transport (from
 harvesting site to the
 "shipping", storage or warehouse site) stage ? death due to desiccation,
 mis handling etc...

 Winters Gidon
 Inter University Institute,
 Eilat (the Red Sea)
 Israel >>

Numbers are highly variable (regionally-further/longer haul times, 
seasonally-warmer months higher, supplier/vendor rating-A,B,other...) and 
though not entirely anecdotal, a matter of propriety (i.e. industry secrets). 
Of the "A" players (QM in L.A., SDC in L.A., TMC in the UK, WSI out of Fiji, 
and few others) the landed mortality ("rules" vary in the trade for claims),  
averages something around 10% (historical survivability within three days 
being the reciprocal...) with a std. dev. of 6% or so... 
    For "B" enterprises these numbers are much higher (but unknown 
quantitatively to me, associates, perhaps to all)... but I would hazard a 
guess at easily twice the number lost and much higher than twice the dev. 
    Lastly, the "other" category of small time transshippers, 
wholesaler/jobbers and direct importers/break-pack retailers and "hobby 
farms" trying to be businesses, incidental mortality and variability are 
highest... with probably half of all new arrivals DOA within three days and a 
30 some % variability in the apparent quality of shipments.
    Related (albeit once again anecdotal) information should be volunteered 
re the preponderance of business (pieces, mass of organisms traded) by these 
respective "scored" business types (i.e. A,B,C). The vast majority (I'd 
hazard 80%) of what the trade considers "corals" (scleractinians, 
alcyonaceans, gorgonians, zoanthids, corallimorphs, some "hard" hydrozoans... 
but not actinarians), make their way through the hands of the secondary ("B") 
distributors... an artifact of current disposition by consumers (i.e. an 
economic expedient). 
    Much more on the latter, or any aspect of the ornamental trade on/off 
line if the list is interested in my input.
Bob/Robert Fenner, a person in the business (as a "consultant" and content 
provider nowadays) for many years.

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