[Coral-List] Mediterranean Red Coral

Kerim Ben Mustapha karim.benmustrapha at instm.rnrt.tn
Wed Feb 3 05:27:28 EST 2010

-ear Dr Tsounis

Thank you for your comments, advices, and deep analysis of the corallium case. Special 
thanks also to the references you gives.

As i wrote in a previous mail I´m in favor of a listing, because I think that CITES is the only 
international fora -re bio resources-  which involves the international trade's concept , thus 
goods export (and import), thus the control by the customs department of the country (and 
that of the ministry of Finances), that means bodies able to control, to report and "reprimand", 
which is not the case now, because the only bodies that are monitoring this crucial issue are 
those -generally- of/from the agriculture/fisheries departments, the same that are monitoring 
the management of the resources, with limited power -some how-. (Of course  bio resources as 
goods are also "relevant" to the CDB and the  GATT fora). 

I´m also for this listing because it will oblige the countries to "control" their international trade 
of coral, thus to control the management of the resources under the supervision of a scientific 
body. You pointed out whether this body will be an  independent one? I agree with you its an 
important question because it could drives us to an amazing mismanagement of the stock if 
this body is not independent, or if this body is under the influence of the industry...But here we 
are, we lack regional (and even national) legislation and cooperation able to fulfill the 
requirement for a sustainable management of the "corallium rubrum" population, a part from 
a rhetorical point of view., and even when binding instruments exist at a national level, their 
implementation are not satisfactory. 
Regarding the model / management issue, this "prediction of the future" based on hypothesis 
and results that could not be meet and generalized all over the Mediterranean, neither on 
shallow and deeper patches of corallium population. As it´s pointed out in the excellent report 
(proceedings of the corallium workshop, China 2009) their population fellows different bio 
and ecological strategies (growth rate,  recruitment, fertility, spawning, stress, resilience etc). 
In addition to all this, as you wrote in your paper  "Unofficial estimates by fishermen 
themselves quote that there are as many or more poachers active in Spain than licensed 
divers"  [the same apply in Tunisia, as corailleurs (divers) reported to me that they all -still- 
uses a modified "ingegno" , that they immerse or sink (after taking its gps position) at the 
approach of the coast guard patrol]  for all these reasons a strong and conservative approach  
is needed, because the management of the fisheries on itself is not sufficient due to the high 
level of  interests that interact and interfere.  Is this aspect will be covered by the listing in 
CITES annex 2? I think so.
Thank you again for your excellent imputs


On 28 Jan 2010 at 20:43, Georgios Tsounis wrote:

Dear all, 
since the question has been posted whether C. rubrum should be listed on CITES appendix 
II, I made some inquiries that I would like to share in order to be more specific than in my 
last email. 
To to reiterate, my point was that if a local management plan is flawed, a CITES listing may 
not result in an improvement of management. However, maybe I did not give CITES 
enough credit, since in fact Article IX of the Convention specifies that Parties may designate 
any scientific authority they wish, or even several. These should be separate and 
independent from the managing government department, so by design a CITES listing may 
be able to enforce scientific recommendations where e.g. fishery departments ignore them. 
Nevertheless, it seems that lines between scientific management authorities and 
management authorities are often blurred, i.e., some countries appoint their fisheries 
research department as scientific authorities. 
It is therefore possible that a CITES Appendix II listing might indeed force the 
implementation of scientific recommendations, but this would depend on the choice of 
management authority (they are listed on the web). Of course, this conservation benefit 
would be bought at the expense of the industry suffering bureaucratic burdens as a result of 
the fishery managers failing to implement scientific recommendations since 1986.
If there is one point I am trying to make, it is that this matter is more complex than it 
seems.To be honest, I find it difficult to estimate how efficient a listing may be. Among 
factors such as identification etc., you have to consider that borders within the EU are not 
enforced anymore, so it is not straightforward to track the items manufactured in Italy and 
exported outside the EU from there. However,I guess the argument that an 
karim.benmustapha at instm.rnrt.tn
kbmtok at yahoo.com.au
Marine ecologist and biologist
Expert in sponges and seagrass mapping

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