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

Matt Nolan mpnolan at lbl.gov
Fri Apr 7 16:15:17 EDT 2017


>Russell Kelley, Sadly, from this email chain I have received no images, data, or proof of any destructive practices which is startling because you would think this is the place to find them.

Maybe its because

People who read this list are not stupid enough to announce to the
world, hey this is where you can go destroy and harvest coral without
consequence.  You can do it here, here and here. See its happening.
With the amount of secrecy involved mentioned in the discussion and
the dollars to be made, I assume there is a significant  part of
probability  distribution that overlies the chance someone is phishing
for places to exploit.  For millions of dollars I assume people exist
who would do just that.

I'm not saying that was your purpose but I hope you are now not so
naive as to think that's exactly the set of information some would
like to have.

But thank you for asking your questions; it resulted in what I thought
were some outstanding posts relating to my own personal struggle with
understanding the viability of solutions.

>this would completely deny the right for newer generations to learn the valuable lessons live corals can teach them.

huh? I hate to openly mock you but do you realize how ridiculous this
sounds? Sounds similar to people need their right to  maintain good
health via food sprinkled with rhino horn powder or their right to
enjoy their own personal beautiful ivory art works or their right to
have the occasion bowl of whale soup.  Just goes to show you the human
brain will come up with the wildest fantasies to convince itself its
doing the right thing once it thinks its found a niche where it thinks
it can survive.

On Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 9:53 AM, Sarah Frias-Torres
<sfrias_torres at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Apparently, I'm a bad person for saying corals belong in the ocean, not in an aquarium. This view, as per some replies in Coral-list, will deny future generations of children to learn about corals. How evil of me.
> To clarify some points here. Live coral specimens taught me nothing growing up. I never saw one. My first coral was actually a dead coral, and I complained to the person who gave it to me because he had killed something beautiful I've seen in a book (yes, books can be windows to the wild for people who read them). Many years later, I finally saw my first living coral when scuba diving in the Mediterranean. For the same reason, I learned nothing good visiting the zoo while growing up. I saw the anxiety and misery in the captive animals, so I avoided the zoo like the Black Death.
> It is true that contact with corals harvested from the wild and kept in aquariums have inspired some people to work on coral conservation and restoration. I don't deny it. However, I doubt that corals in aquariums teach valuable lessons to children. It teaches them that corals are found in aquariums.. In the same way that lions, zebras, elephants, etc. kept in zoos, teaches children that those animals are found in zoos.
> Now, I'm aware there is a huge industry involving harvesting wild corals for the aquarium trade, and the USA is its top consumer. I don't doubt there are aquarists out there who are very respectful of corals and follow all CITES rules, etc. But the bottom line is that wild harvested corals are a commodity, subject to the laws of supply and demand. Scientists keeping corals for research (from CO2 studies to inducing sexual reproduction) usually are out of the aquarium trade loop because they obtain their corals through special permits when fragmenting wild corals (not harvesting the whole coral) or when whole colony harvesting is needed.
> If the aquarium trade industry (for corals, fish and any species taken from the wild) and its clients (the aquarists) are truly interested in a sustainable business, then, they must be fully transparent on their chain of custody: where they harvest the corals, how many of each species, where the corals go, how many corals die on transit (and apply the same transparency for fish, and other species). We've seen from previous emails that full transparency is rare or non-existent in the aquarium trade.
> So, until I see action towards full transparency in the aquarium trade, I insist that due to the critical situation of coral reefs today, corals belong in the ocean and we should focus on CO2 reduction, conservation, and restoration to give coral reefs a chance of survival.
> Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D.
> Twitter: @GrouperDoc
> Blog: http://grouperluna.wordpress.com
> http://independent.academia.edu/SarahFriasTorres
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