[Coral-List] Mariculture and sustainability

Jeremy Simmonds 59pickup at gmail.com
Wed Mar 5 08:05:32 EST 2008


I have been following the discussion on the subject of Maricultured corals
and the issues regarding the definition of sustainability and the effects
these farming operations are having on coral reefs.

Having worked in a number of areas of the aquarium industry from retail to a
breeding facility.  I am surprised that the scientists still fail to
communicate their concerns so poorly to the wider world. If the current crop
of ocean cultured corals for sale are doing damage to the reefs and are part
of the problem not the cure, then somebody needs to tell the aquarium
industry and the customers buying them as all that a lot of importers are
saying in a loud voice "these are the future".

So when Johnny customer walks in sees lots of lovely corals for his
aquarium, he gets told these are all Mari cultured corals that help save
coral reefs and feed poor indigenous people. Johnny customer goes away with
a clear conscience, and a warm glow, that what he just bought is doing good.
So he does not see the problems only what the aquarium industry is telling

If there is to be a dose of realism in the aquarium industry with regard to
real sustainability, then it's not driven by initiatives like MAC which has
really achieved very little in terms of changing industry attitudes. It has
to be driven by informing the customer who buys this stuff that yes there is
balance, but as long as the voice of reason is missing from the equation and
the only people making a noise are the aquarium industry little is going to

 If users demand it from the retailers then it will rise up the chain and
producers will be forced to supply. But unless people are hearing the truth
about Maricultre and some of the practices they will presume all is well.

If anyone has some good photos of the chop shop effect or collection issues
I will be happy to add them to an article I am writing regarding the need
for the industry to change and for it to be driven by the customer.

There has never been a time when there is a more environmentally aware
consumer, if the argument cannot be made successfully at this point, then I
doubt it will ever be made, until it's too late.

If the customer says no then know matter how cheap and unsustainable the
Chop shop or Mariculture product, its not going to sell so dealers will not
import it.

Jeremy Simmonds

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