[Coral-List] Mediterranean Red Coral

Kristian Teleki kteleki at seaweb.org
Mon Jan 25 08:57:58 EST 2010

Dear Coral-List,
Karim’s recent question and Professor Santangelo’s response raise some very interesting issues.
“Should Mediterranean red coral (Corallium rubrum) be listed in Annex 2 of the CITES or not?” 
Yes is the short answer.  Red and pink coral do indeed meet the criteria for an Appendix II listing under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which is noted in Andy Bruckner'	s  (2009) recent paper  “Rate and extent of decline in Corallium (pink and red coral) populations: existing data meet the requirements for a CITES Appendix II listing”  (Marine Ecology Progress Series  Vol. 397, 319-332).
The volume of international trade in Coralliidae (30-50 metric tonnes annually), plus their life-history characteristics (long-lived, relatively slow growing, sessile colonial organisms) means they are particularly vulnerable to overexploitation and, as increasingly noted, poaching- CITES is one instrument which can avoid a level of utilization that is incompatible with their survival.  It is very important to note that a CITES Appendix II listing for red and pink coral is not a ban on trade but would help regulate this trade openly and transparently, in order to extinguish illegal and unregulated operations. If properly implemented CITES listing will likely have benefits to legitimate and sustainable harvesting of this resource.
However, any CITES listing is only as effective as the local management measures.  Although more needs to be done, for example through effective management and enforcement of the fishery (e.g. additional no-take areas and closing shallower waters to coral fishing),  CITES and meaningful local management measures and strategies are not mutually exclusive.  These mechanisms can complement efforts to ensure red and pink corals are effectively conserved and managed. 

Best wishes,


Kristian A. Teleki
Vice President of Science Initiatives
....leading voices for a healthy ocean
London Office
32-26 Loman Street | London| SE1 0EH | UK 

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