[Coral-List] Worst places to harvest coral for aquarium trade?

Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Wed Apr 5 13:18:54 EDT 2017


I'll be Jiminy Cricket here and ask the obvious:

Considering the dire situation of coral reefs worldwide, How can anybody justify live coral harvesting?

I think this question must come front and center at the "Reefapalooza" trade show. If reef aquarists love corals as much as you say, then they will accept all efforts must focus now on CO2 reduction, conservation and restoration of coral reefs. All three actions must work together so coral reefs will have a chance of survival. Reef aquarists can provide their expertise to make this approach a reality. Here partnerships between reef aquarists, scientists, and other stakeholders would be critical.

Continuing live coral harvesting means loving corals to death, until one day, someone will hold the dubious record of having the last live coral... in an aquarium.

In the meantime, there are beautiful coral replicas that don't require killing anything and look colorful in any reef aquarium.

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D.

Twitter: @GrouperDoc
Blog: http://grouperluna.wordpress.com

From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml..noaa.gov> on behalf of Damien Beri <beridl at g.cofc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 12:37 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Worst places to harvest coral for aquarium trade?

Dear Coral-Listers,

I would like to get some intel on areas and locations on the planet where "live coral harvesting" for the aquarium trade are most detrimental to the environment.

There will be a live coral trade show in New Jersey/ New York this coming June tittled "Reefapalooza."  I will be setting up a booth advocating reef restoration and preservation.  My company, see Reefinedarts.com, aims to market a beautiful 3D printed coral jewelry product to coral enthusiasts while benefiting active reef restoration by donating proceeds to the "Amiga Island Ecological Foundation," and "Fragments of Hope." You can now wear a symbol of reef restoration and advocacy designed and crafted in a way never before seen.. The connection from mariculture, to fashion culture. An obvious gap in the science community which we want to fill.

It would be beneficial to us all to input some ideas as to how to steer buyers away from Corals which have been harvested in the worst and most detrimental manner.  There will be some of the bigger coral aquarium celebrities and magazine journalists there so making a wave (yes, Coral aquarium celebrities exist) could carry momentum farther than just a single 2 day event.  I plan on going to multiple events similar to this one and advocating reef restoration so if there are any organizations which want to sponsor our travels and get their name out there as well please let me know.

I cannot stress more the importance for our science community to connect with the reef aquarium community.  Reef aquarists are of the same blood as us, and they love coral just as much as any of you!  They want nothing more than to see coral reefs thrive.  However the scene that they follow, and the blogs and magazines they read show far too little the destructive nature that the trade provokes, for obvious business reasons.  I would like to thank Mr. Walt Smith and project ADE for taking action on this type of situation directly.  If we can get reef aquarists (reefers) on-board with outspoken motivation to bring awareness to coral reefs, then we have a powerful community of already trained and knowledgeable people to bring more awareness to the inevitable loss of biodiversity and ecological production.

Understandably any harvesting of live coral is detrimental when the corals are directly removed from a reef, however the industry still exists and so we must mitigate the destructive nature as best as possible. I am aiming to do just that.  Please provide me with any articles, data, or videos of proof to such destructive attributes of live coral harvesting.  As I will be operating essentially in "enemy territory" vouching for people not to buy things like Australian corals (which can be the most expensive and profitable) I would like as much scientific backing as possible.

Here are some of my questions, please assist me in generating some more powerful questions and give me any input you may have to make a more meaningful impact.

---I understand SPS corals such as Acropora are maricultured, in what ways is this beneficial, and in what ways is this detrimental to the environment? Where, and why?

---Is the continued harvesting of slow growing LPS corals from Australia bad? If so why does it still continue?

---What regions of the world have seen massive over exploitation of native corals for the aquarium trade?

---how can aquarists confirm their corals are as sustainably harvested as possible? CITES tags are normally removed before purchase from the retailer as the corals get fragged.

Thanks you sincerely for you time, and to those of you in the field or in the labs, or even looking for work, keep doing what you do best and don't stop trying to make this planet a better place! We all need you.

Damien Beri
Reefined Arts LLC

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