[Coral-List] Aquarium collection information

Ed Lovell lovell_e at usp.ac.fj
Thu Oct 23 02:28:41 EDT 2008

Aquarium interests and  Coral-list, 


Regarding the discussion on the wild collection of live coral for the aquarium trade, please see the recent publication:


Lovell E. R. & C. McLardy (2008). Annotated checklist of the CITES-listed corals of Fiji with reference to Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa, © Animal Health 2008, JNCC Report 415, ISSN 0963 8901.


This report can be downloaded from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) website: http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-4476.


Pg. 62, Chapter 6. The dynamics of hard coral abundance presents information on the relative quantity of coral collected by the aquarium trade in Fiji in relation to the estimated total coral abundance in the wild for two collection sites.


The following table summarizes the findings of a survey that considered coral categorically as a fishery item in which those with certain attributes could be subject to collection (collectible coral).  These attributes are a relatively small size (<15cm diameter), attractive form (symmetrical with no damage) and distinctive coloration (bright, fluorescent).  Collection was from a large area 108.2 km2 . This figure represents the area of the reef flat to a depth of ~3m as calculated from aerial photos.  Collection in Walt Smith International area, relative to 2006 exports, represented the removal of 1 coral colony per 10,000 colonies.  For the other collection area discussed in the above report and referred to by Bruce Carlson, exports amounted to one coral colony being removed per 1000 colonies.  In this case, the collection area was much smaller (64 km2).  In both cases, the estimates are likely to be very low as the reef slope areas from which some of the exports were obtained were not included in the survey.  Contributing to the sustainability of the live coral resource in these areas are the vast uncollected coral reef areas adjacent to the collection sites, which extend to the national boundaries of the archipelago.


Table 5.  Estimates of coral colony numbers and percentages of corals collected from the Walt Smith International (WSI) collecting area.


      Coral Reef Area and Exports
     Collectible corals
     Non-collectible coral
     Total coral
      Estimated coral numbers
      Percentage of corals in each category
      Number of corals exported in 2006
      Coral exports as a percentage of collectible and total coral




Currently, Fiji's Dept. of Fisheries and the Institute of Marine Resources, University of the South Pacific are conducting re-surveys in both collection areas.  This time assessment is with regard to the CITES taxonomic categories for the purpose of re-setting the national quotas in compliance with CITES requirements.


It should be emphasized that the assessment is to determine the resource potential for live coral collection and that curio or decorative coral collection (export of dead coral) is not allowed.


Considering the conservation of the resource, Fiji, as part of the CITES Convention, has implemented voluntary export quotas limiting coral exports.  Only 30 of the 72 genera occurring in Fiji are allowed for export.  13 genera and species have a 0 quota also prohibiting trade.


As pointed out in an earlier post, there has been recovery in hard coral cover to the level preceding the 2000 and 2002 mass bleaching events, as determined from transect data from across Fiji. The following paper has been submitted for inclusion in the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium proceedings.


E. R. Lovell and H. Sykes (in prep).    Rapid recovery from bleaching events - Fiji Coral Reef Monitoring Network assessment of hard coral cover from 1999-2007.


I hope this clarifies some of the issues discussed. 


Best regards, 


Ed Lovell


Edward R. Lovell
School of Marine Studies 
University of the South Pacific
PMB, Laucala Campus, Suva, Fiji
Ph. 3232943; Fax 3231526
lovell_e at usp.ac.fj

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