[Coral-List] illegal harvesting of coral

Delbeek, Charles cdelbeek at calacademy.org
Sun Mar 1 12:11:56 EST 2009

Since Lee's post more has come to light about this shipment. First of all it
was not live coral or live rock, or curio coral skeletons, it was coral
gravel destined for use in calcium reactors or for use as substratum on the
bottom of an aquarium. Where did it come from in the Philippines and what is
the source (mined? Beaches? Crushed skeletons?) is still not known for sure.

While 40 tons may sound like a lot ... how many sacks of gravel is this
really? How does it compare to the tons of corals that are collected and used
for construction or roads, walls and homes all over the Pacific basin and
Indian Ocean, or the amount that is destroyed when dredging new canals and
harbors by local governments or the American military in places such as
Miami, Key West or Guam? Not to mention the lime extracted from coral for
beetle nut chewing. Where is the outcry over this? Surely we are talking
10,000's of tons in these cases? Lets get some perspective.

J. Charles Delbeek, M.Sc.
Senior Aquatic Biologist, Steinhart Aquarium
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr.
San Francisco CA 94118

phone (415) 379-5303
fax (415) 379-5304
cdelbeek at calacademy.org

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Don Baker
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2009 5:24 PM
To: coralfarmguam at yahoo.com
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] illegal harvesting of coral

Hi Lee,
Interesting article!  BUT...what I am more concerned with is the Philippine
side of this event, whereas, "who" allowed this to take place???   Forty tons
of coral is no small amount to be 'overlooked' during the collection,
cleaning, drying phases of this process.  I know the process as I used to do
this for dry/cured aquarium use only corals back in the 1970s on Guam; prior
to Guam law preventing collection and even issued limited collection permits.
I collected red organ pipe coral, fire and blue corals as they retained some
color after curing. 
WHERE is the Philippine Government in all this???   Seems they are quite
silent pending heads rolling from some dept. as this case goes forth in the
US.  I am sure the German will name names...and agencies.
Cheers from Zamboanga,

Alternate Email: donbjr95 at hotmail.com

"Dedication and motivated direction in achieving specific goals related to
the care and protection of living things is not necessarily a guaranteed
formula for success. Success is, more often than not, a direct result of a
person’s passion in addition to the above formula." [Don Baker, Marine
Conservationist/Activist, 1998]

--- On Sat, 2/21/09, Lee Goldman <coralfarmguam at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Lee Goldman <coralfarmguam at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Coral-List] illegal harvesting of coral
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Date: Saturday, February 21, 2009, 7:47 PM

Dear all,

A while back I took part of discussion about the merits of harvesting coral
the aquarium trade and was reprimanded for using a figure that could not be
verified. I humbly agreed that in the best interest of science I was wrong to
use the figure (although I know it to be true, and used CITES to back it up,
number was subjective so all of the proponents of the aquarium trade jumped
me). Okay, let's get started with the verification process as well as
re-examine the concerns and issues with regards to corals within the aquarium
trade. For all who are interested, check this link out:


While the weight of shipment does not often accurately describe the numbers
corals, I am willing to bet this was quite a bit...and coming from an area in
the world where this can make an impact. Again, for those who feel there is
problem, please understand that one area that represents a 'good' model
(used over and over again by the proponents as their model of best practice)
rare these days and the demand obviously is not being met...

Please note that this is an owner of an aquarium/pet shop. Unfortunately,
type of attitude and disregard for the reefs is not uncommon with

Please let me know if you are having trouble with this and I can send the
article directly to you.


Lee Goldman

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