[Coral-List] [SPAM] Trade in coral skeletons, and the role of the consumer in reducing it

Charles Delbeek delbeek at waquarium.org
Sun Feb 17 16:05:48 EST 2008

Andrew Baker wrote:
> Dear coral-listers
> Note that plenty of trade in (living) scleractinians goes on, legally,
> through the marine aquarium trade. These live corals are imported, under
> CITES permit, from the country of origin (usually Indonesia or the
> Philippines). 
It has been illegal to export coral from the Philippines since the early 
80s or perhaps earlier. Periodically dead coral skeletons have been 
released from "storage" in the Philippines. These are claimed to be 
corals that were already collected before the export ban. It was decided 
to release these corals to clear out the inventory. This is not a 
regular practice. There is no live coral coming out of the Philippines, 
unless it is a black market trade. Areas that are now being exploited 
include Vietnam, and this should be looked into as a possible area of 

Ed Lovell did quite a bit of work with the trade of curio corals in Fiji 
and found, to his surprise, that despite their collection, sites that 
were visited less than a year later, showed signs of significant 
regrowth. He might want to chime in on this thread.

By far the vast majority of coral is coming from Indonesia, followed to 
lesser extents by Fiji, Tonga, Solomons, and the Marshalls. Again, most 
of the branching corals such as Acropora are being sold as cuttings on 
concrete plugs, other more massive genera such as Euphyllia are the most 
commonly imported into the US and as I have already mentioned, these 
corals are the ones that coral farmers and researchers should be 
targeting for propagation work; we know very little about sexual and 
asexual reproduction in these genera.

J. Charles Delbeek

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