[Coral-List] Aquaculture is the way

Don Baker reefpeace at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 16 19:15:01 EST 2012

Hi All,

I point out and strongly support Doug's statement below.

Having lived and worked in Sabah (North Borneo), Malaysia for nearly 15 years now, I have been involved, in one way or another, the establishment of marine aquarium species mariculture efforts that will include fish, corals, and other inverts.  It has been a slow process of gaining interest - especially investment & funding interests. But I have been involved as a consultant for a coral farm operations in Darvel Bay that has successfully grown its F1 stocks and will be soon ready to plant F2 stocks that will be used for export to the marine aquarium trade.  We are also fabricating coral larvae collectors in preparation for the region's annual coral spawning event..  We are planning to also install a giant clam hatchery to culture Tridacna maxima - the lead species in demand in the marine aquarium trade.  Culturing Nemo is also in the picture as we have broods stocks 'a many' on the reefs next to our facilities to temporarily use and then return.

This has cost a bit of $$ here but............read on.

Recently, the Sabah State Fisheries Department has started to allow the collection of wild corals, adult giant clams, and other inverts from the reefs of Semporna..  Marine aquarium fish have been exported from Semporna for years now.  

In short, How can I justify our mariculture efforts while the collection of the wild is happening next door?  

We have also asked the Malaysia Federal Fisheries people to inspect our F1 coral farm for their certification process that will aid our CITES exporting, etc. They have yet to reply/respond.  But Sabah Fisheries readily issues CITES permits to export live Adult giant clams, large polyp corals (that are NOT able to be cultured and banned in EU France), and Nemo fish in numbers of 1,000 per shipment (all adults taken from anemones - leaving the younger tiny ones as bait for predators without the larger & adults present to defend the anemone).

I have reported this to the Malaysian chapter of WWF and here is their reply below.  

So as we say here when facing a dilemma:  "So How!?"

Don Baker
Mariculture Consultant


Dear Don,

Thank you for raising your concern on the export of corals from Tawau.

After studying the attached permit photographed, we would like to point out 
that the permit is not claiming to be from cultured source. According to CITES, there are species allowed for export (with CITES permit) and the list of CITES-listed species can be found at http://www.cites.org/eng/resources/species.html. 

In the case of trading internationally species and 
movement of CITES-listed fish, coral and marine plant, Sabah Fisheries 
Deparment is the management authorities, hence we would encourage for 
you to approach them for clarifications on such allegations.

Sabah Fisheries Department
Department of Fisheries
Level 4, Block B, Wisma Pertanian Sabah
Jln Tasik, Luyang (Off Jln Maktab Gaya)
Tel: +60 (88) 23 59 66      
Fax: +60 (16) 24 05 11
Web: http://www.fishdept.sabah.gov.my

We truly appreciate your awareness on these issues.

Best and regards,
Hui Ling



 From: Douglas Fenner <douglasfennertassi at gmail.com>
To: Jon Skrapits <jon at treasurecoastcorals.com> 
Cc: coral list <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> 
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2012 6:20 AM
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Aquaculture is the way
"The major threats to coral reefs are overfishing,
sedimentation, nutrients, coral diseases, mass coral bleaching, and
acidification.  Collecting for the aquarium trade wouldn't be on the list
of the top 20 threats to coral reefs, I bet.  Yes, of course it does local
damage in some areas.  Yes, everything that kills corals contributes to
their demise.  Yes, I think the Philippines was wise to prohibit the export
of corals, and Indonesia is taking a risk (though it is a very large
country with almost exactly as much coral reef as Australia, those two
countries have more coral reef than any other counties in the world by
far).  But collecting fish and corals for the world aquarium trade will
never, by itself, kill all the reefs in the world or even all the coral
reefs in the Coral Triangle (which includes Indonesia and the Philippines,
two of the countries that have the most reefs in the world).  It is far,
far, too small.  Does this mean we should do nothing about it??  Not at
all.  Everything that contributes to the decline of reefs needs to be
reduced or stopped.  I fully support using aquaculture to produce the
corals for the aquarium trade." 

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