[Coral-List] question about the expanded listing of coral species

Eric Borneman eborneman at uh.edu
Wed Feb 24 18:41:46 EST 2010


> As far as, what would be a more important coral stress to combat in some sort of
> attention stress order is strange.

I'm not even sure what this means, James. Do I believe that some stresses/threats are greater in some areas than others, and may need proportionately more resources devoted to them in those areas?  Absolutely. I'm not very concerned about riverine discharge in the Maldives but coral mining is a concern. 

> If  you or others think its peculiar to address the "coral death camps" like the
> selling factories in Key Largo FL, called shell-man, coral world as well as the
> thousands and thousands of live colonies stuffed in plastic bags for the
> aquarium " living-room table trade" ...... you simply cannot remain biased, to
> be able be to address this problem , due to yourself being a coral hobby
> aquarium advocate. Please take a trip to the Shell Man and see what goes on as
> the image below shows the stacks of corals in shelves inside and outside of
> this factory.

I'm trying hard to make grammatical sense of this, but I think I have it translated. 

Not only do I NOT support places like you describe, nor consider it peculiar to address them (and do know of Shell Man in Key Largo and many similar places in Florida spanning some 30 years), I also do not support collection of wild corals for the aquarium trade (having listed just a few species of concern by collection in my previous post that were not petitioned), abhor destructive collection methods, and am also not a coral hobby aquarium advocate as you mistakenly describe, despite my involvement.  My works and contributions related to the aquarium trade (and outside trade issues) should make it quite obvious that I put conservation first. I have provided and presented on unsuitable species for the marine aquarium trade, corallivorous microparasites and the potential of invasion from the marine ornamental trade, and development of sustainable harvest regimes for Indonesia and other countries.

Do you  recognize this proposed presentation below for the MOC conference in Hawaii? I was unable to attend that event as I was in the field. Did you ever wind up presenting it?

Borneman, EH and Cervino, JM. 2000. Corals collected from indigenous ecosystems for the aquarium hobby trade: should there be a ban on the importation of corals for this trade? Marine Ornamentals Conference, Hawaii, Abstracts.

I do support sustainable managed, preferably captive bred or cultured species for the ornamental trade and reform of the trade through legislation, enforcement and market based initiatives. Your claim that I cannot remain biased (I think you meant unbiased?), because I am involved in aquarium trade issues (almost exclusively in terms of reform, rather than support) is like saying that you can't be involved in discussions involving YBD because you have published your results of YBD and are therefore biased. Or for any researcher in his or her own area(s) of expertise. 

Despite your dramatic use of the term "coral death camps," may I put things in perspective? Based on an interview resulting from the paper Nijman (2009) An overview of international wildlife trade from Southeast Asia.  Biodivers Conserv online first. DOI 10.1007/s10531-009-9758-4
 "Vincent Nijman, a researcher at Oxford Brookes University who has investigated the trade, said: "We see species that are in fashion traded in great numbers until they are wiped out and people can't get them any more. So another one comes in, and then that is wiped out, and then another comes in."He added: "In Asia, everybody knows the value of wildlife, so people go into the forest and, whatever they encounter, they know it has a value and that there is someone they can sell it to."

He analysed 53,000 records of imports and exports from countries under CITES, the international convention that regulates the sale of wildlife. .... Nijman looked at species considered vulnerable enough that trade is allowed, but controlled. "I'm not against the wildlife trade at all. I think it is a very important economic driver for a large part of the region and a lot of people are dependent on it," he said. "But it has to be done in such a way that you don't finish it all this year. It's not like oil, where you drill it out and then it's gone. If you organise and regulate it properly, it should go on forever."


Eric Borneman
Dept. of Biology and Biochemistry
University of Houston

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