[Coral-List] Mediterranean Red Coral

Georgios Tsounis Georgios at icm.csic.es
Mon Jan 25 11:15:35 EST 2010

Dear all,

thanks for raising this question. Excellent replies have already been  
posted, and I especially agree with Prof. Santangelo who indicated  
that the ultimate question we should be asking is: what is necessary  
to effectively manage Corallium rubrum?

As FAO consultation reports and recent literature demonstrate, current  
management of almost all Mediterranean coral fisheries cannot be  
described as adequate. In 2009 there were two more Corallium workshops  
that accumulated a wealth of recent information, and a FAO panel as  
well as an IUCN/TRAFFIC expert group provided recommendations to the  
CITES conference of Parties (see links below).

For those of you who are interested in recent information that was  
gathered at these events, please have a look at the respective  


When discussing whether Corallidae meet the criteria, we should keep  
in mind that FAO and IUCN/TRAFFIC provide advice to CITES CoP, and  
both came to the conclusion that the present data do not meet the  
criteria (see the links provided), -and the panels have been well  
aware of the information cited in the mentioned MEPS paper.

As Kristian pointed out, local management is the basis for effective  
conservation, but CITES can complement it. Therefore, being familiar  
with the lack of proper coral fishery management in the Mediterranean,  
I doubt that a Corallidae listing on CITES App. II by itself would  
result in a significant conservation benefit  for C. rubrum. There has  
been consensus during the Corallium workshops (see links above) that  
we need improved local management. In my opinion, this needs to be  
pursued directly, rather than hoping that a CITES listing might  
indirectly lead to this.

One of the conclusions of the second international Corallium workshop  
was that the FAO General Fisheries Commission (GFCM) of the  
Mediterranean (see the links) could be ideally suited to implement an  
updated C. rubrum fishery management. Yet no coordinated effort to  
move such a proposal forward has been made so far.

The Corallidae proposal has been resubmitted by the US and EU to CITES  
CoP 15, and the parties will decide this june. No matter what the  
outcome will be, there is agreement among everyone involved that the  
conservation status depends on a paradigm change in local management.  
My hope is that after 20 years of stagnation of C. rubrum fishery  
management, we can now focus our energy on an update of the local  
management, based on recent data, as Prof. Santangelo pointed out. At  
this point, every aspect concerning CITES has been discussed, while we  
are still in the dark about how to implement the suggested local  
management improvements. The Mediterranean countries that harvest red  
coral do not seem to have the resources to implement this change.
So my short answer is: A CITES listing might be useful, but it is not  
the key element. Instead, improved local management, possibly  
implemented through the GFCM, is a necessary basis that is being  

All the best,

Dr. Georgios Tsounis
Institut de Ciències del Mar, CMIMA (CSIC)
Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 37-49
08003 Barcelona, Spain

Phone: 34  932 309 611
Fax: 34 93 2 309 555
E-mail: georgios at icm.csic.es

On Jan 21, 2010, at 8:40 AM, Kerim Ben Mustapha wrote:

> Dear all
> One question: Should mediterranean red coral (Corallium rubrum) be  
> listed in annex 2 of
> the CITES or not? Yur answer will be very helpfull, Im in favor of  
> its listing and seek some
> strong arguments from the con group.
> Thank you
> karim.benmustapha at instm.rnrt.tn
> kbmtok at yahoo.com.au
> Marine ecologist and biologist
> Expert in sponges and seagrass mapping

More information about the Coral-List mailing list