[Coral-List] Even when CITES works ......

Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 29 14:33:13 EDT 2008

Dear coral-listers,
allow me to disgress a bit from corals, because I think the following "breaking news" has some application to surprise ourselves by CITES and might actually have some application to corals.
"Rare sale of Ivory to be held under U.N. auspices" Reuters Oct 27
Now, African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is listed under CITES I, which means international trade is prohibited. Elephants from Bostwana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbawe are an exception, because they are listed in CITES II (same as hard corals). Interestingly, the rare sale will occur in the CITES II countries... but it is not clear whether the ivory really came from those countries, meaning maybe they came from natural deaths or not. What is remarkable, is the secrecy in which this sale occurs. Only two clients are present, China and Japan.
For a contrasting point, go to the Born Free Foundation
Now, China and Japan apparently have done their homework, because they have fought illegal trade... so they can benefit now from 108 tonnes of the rare sale?. At the end of the news, see how all the illegal ivory that the sale clients have been fighting against, is being sold in eBay.
Back to corals. Forget about shell shops or aquarium shops, or anything. Just go to eBay and from the comfort of home you can buy all the black coral and scleractinian coral you want. Just type "black coral" or "live coral" in the search box. So I wonder, did all those suppliers and vendors really followed the CITES II permit requirements? and even if eventually corals enter CITES I, shall we expect rare sale events?
 There is still so much work we need to do. 

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. 
Marine Conservation Biologist
Ocean Research and Conservation Association, Florida USA

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