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

Walt Smith walt at waltsmith.com
Sun Apr 9 20:25:15 EDT 2017

Dear all,
I have been watching this thread from the sidelines and although I have a
lot to say on this subject I have found from experience that it is a long a
difficult battle to get some people to believe or understand the truth of
what is actually going on. I also find that, in most cases, these same
people refuse to recognize facts and carefully collected scientific data
that supports the aquarium fishery as one of the most sustainable and
valuable fishery in countries with fewer choices of employment than most of
us would imagine.
The mind stops allowing rational clear thinking when confronted with a
compassionate question such as "would you like to save the coral reef" and
takes the obvious path without bothering to consider the whole story. I have
also found that, no matter what, you will never gain a positive audience
among those who are committed to the idea that no living organism should be
held in captivity. I find this similar to a vegan point of view and although
I might not agree with all of the principles I respect their dedication to
their personal beliefs as long as you do not condemn a viable and
sustainable industry while closing your mind to the facts that exist.
Of course, you could say that I am biased because of my chosen profession
but you could also say that I am extremely passionate (as many like me are)
about the care and maintenance of our natural resources. As Charles pointed
out most people do not realize the magnitude of the resource we are dealing
with and how minuscule our harvest of small, highly selective pieces of
living coral actually is. In a non-detriment study on my particular area it
was found that we harvest approx. .001% of a given resource. But if you
consider the amount of coral we actually replace by our coral farming
efforts we actually have positive impact rather than negative. I have found
that most people would rather believe a m ore rational stance that if we are
taking then destruction must be the result. 
I would like to point out that, although I have been credited for being one
of the original pioneers in coral farming (since 1998), this would never
have been possible if it were not for the Marine Aquarium trade which
inspired me to carry out this highly unprofitable work. At any given time we
have over 50,000 - 90,000 pieces of living coral growing on our racks, most
of which get planted on the reef at our expense. A very minute amount of
this is distributed to the Aquarium trade  for various reasons that include
the overall size of the industry and competition from other countries that
have also followed this model we helped to create. Just this last week I was
on our farm sites about 150 miles from our main facility and was amazed at
the amount of living coral that had been transplanted by us on a completely
dead reef flat during this past year. There were literally thousands of
(substantial in size) corals growing out of the ruble. Some pictures of this
appear on our company Facebook page. 
I am convinced that the majority of marine aquarium enthusiast around the
world are more informed and highly passionate about matters concerning the
state of the world's coral reefs than most of this audience choses to
believe. I have always said that this experience gained by the hobby makes a
perfect blend and contribution to science if all sides would come together
and share useful information that could benefit our environment.
Asking the industry or science to identify the "bad guys" for the sake of a
campaign to sell jewelry, in my opinion, is not grounded in useful
information. Accusing the industry of trying to keep secrets for the benefit
of protecting huge profit margins also shows little regard for the truth. In
all the years I have been doing this work I have yet to meet a millionaire
that gained his fame and fortune in this business. In most cases that I know
of it is more about passion than fortune and I always say "if you want to
get rich you should find something else to do". But it is a business after
all and there is plenty of competition, so to address the "secret theory" I
would like you to consider a more reasonable fact. If you are at the
receiving end of the supply chain and you happen to have a very good
supplier that contributes to your business success it is not in your best
interest to share that name with your competitor for obvious reasons. The
same is true in most businesses so why is this practice subject to such
unscrupulous suspicion in our highly sensitive business?
I beg that science and industry come together and share what we have
learned. Our industry has a lot to offer, perhaps more than the financially
restricted scientific organizations doing valuable work but only on a small
scale due to the size of their grant. I know this plight well because of my
own personal dream regarding the NGO www.adeproject.org  which so far has
received very limited funding from outside and is mostly funded by my (dare
I say it) Marine Ornamental export business.
Thank you for allowing me this long post,
Walt Smith    

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Charles Delbeek
Sent: Sunday, April 9, 2017 6:58 AM
To: Coral Morphologic <coralmorphologic at gmail.com>
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] "Worst places to harvest coral for aquarium

The following are my own opinions and do not necessarily represent those of
my employer.


Having debated, discussed, written about and argued this issue for over 30
years I still find it amazing that the aquarium hobby and the harvesting of
corals still can't be seen for the benefits that it provides to both the
suppliers and the receivers. I think Colin has quite eloquently stated many
of the benefits that can and have been realized through coral husbandry.
But all anyone ever fixates on are the numbers of corals removed. Yet were
one to look at coral mass and not just numbers, you would quickly see that
what the hobby deals in pales in comparison to the sheer area of coral
reefs. And has Colin has also pointed out, the coral trade is discriminant
in what it selects.

Now I would ask us all to contrast this with the curio trade. Here we have
sheer magnitudes of amounts (mass) of coral being removed that dwarfs the
amount removed by the aquarium trade. It is in discriminant in what it
removes, it gives NOTHING back to the local economy, it can't be propagated
once removed, it removes much larger colonies that provide habitat for 1000s
of other creatures, it is highly destructive and employs chemicals
(bleach) in large quantities to strip the living tissue from the skeletons
(who knows where that ends up once its done but I am sure its just dumped
overboard.). Yet I NEVER hear this trade called out and vilified to the
extent that is done to the Aquarium hobby. Why is this? Perhaps it has
something to do with the fact that those that oppose the hobby are not
opposing it from an ecological position but from an ideological one, their
own, that keeping animals in captivity is "wrong". These same people have no
problem eating wild caught fish (which are not always treated in the most
humane manner) but boy oh boy if you remove a fish to keep it in a home
aquarium you are the worst person in the world.

As others have pointed out, coral reefs are highly stressed in many areas of
the world by much larger factors and if we either leave them there or remove
them, it is not going to change this fact. If removing a small fraction from
the global population can in some small way help to preserve some species I
can't see this as being a bad thing. Pointing out that some people just have
these in captivity as an "ornament" is a red herring and an attempt at
misdirection as its not the big picture or the main focus of the hobby, in
fact these people are not "hobbyists" they are consumers and thankfully they
are not the majority. Yes corals and fishes are beautiful in the eyes of
many, but as Colin has pointed out, that further reinforces the desire to
learn more about them and the threats they are facing, and to keep them
alive at great cost and propagate them wherever possible.

There are of course many problems with how this industry conducts itself and
there are bad apples in this industry as in any other, plus the logistics to
manage it are daunting and perhaps, insurmountable. However, there are those
who are trying such as Cairns Marine who practice direct chains of custody
by collecting their own animals, but for much of the industry this is not
the case. There are several examples of sustainable in situ coral culturing
facilities that can be found in areas such as Indonesia and Fiji that can be
used as examples that it is possible to do this in a manner that is
measurable, sustainable and accountable. But first, you have to overcome the
basic aversion that keeping these animals in captivity is somehow the wrong
thing to do. If that sort of thinking were followed in all that we do there
would be no more grey wolves, black footed ferrets, California Condors,
giant pandas, not to mention those south American cichlid species and
Madagascar fish species that are all but extinct in the wild but are only
still with us due the efforts of hobbyists in Europe who have been able to
breed these in captivity.

At the September 2016 International Aquarium Congress held in Vancouver,
Canada , Dr. Paul Loiselle of the New York Zoological society gave a very
sobering keynote presentation on the state of the worlds' freshwater
tropical fishes, many of which are on the verge of extinction. His message
was that the public aquarium industry and government agencies had failed
miserably at preserving these critically endangered fishes not through lack
of trying but through lack of scale, resources, logistics and lack of will
at the leadership level. In contrast he gave examples of several species
that had been saved from extinction through the work of dedicated hobbyists.
I always cringe when I use or hear used the term "hobbyist"
since the connotation is that these are somehow inferior people who lack any
serious ability. And while there are some who would fit this picture, there
are also many who do not. These people are extremely skilled biologists who
develop skills and techniques that make many professional aquarists and
zookeepers envious. In the 18th and 19th centuries I believe such people
were called "naturalists" and some of the greatest advances to science have
been made by people such as these.

So maybe its time to stop with the finger pointing, let's move forward by
working together to save what we can before we all have regrets and are
sitting around here in 20 years as old curmudgeons lamenting on how we did
nothing but bicker when we could have been more supportive of each other.

Best regards,

*J. Charles Delbeek, M.Sc.*

On Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 12:19 PM, Coral Morphologic <
coralmorphologic at gmail.com> wrote:

> I appreciate the feedback I've gotten from my response. Ron, to try 
> and answer your question about service companies and other 'interior
> aquarium installations, you have to stop and consider the economics of 
> the situation. In many cases the majority of a coral or fish's cost at 
> the aquarium store is due to the cost of cargo/shipping. Live corals 
> need to be shipped in water, which is heavy, and thus expensive. They 
> also need to be shipped ASAP via air cargo or FedEx overnight. Every 
> time they cross an international border, there are costly customs and 
> wildlife fees which adds to the cost of an imported fish/coral (be it 
> wild or maricultured). The bottom line is that no one is making money 
> when the corals or fish die in transit (except the cargo and airline 
> companies... which puts priority on fresh cut flowers and dead bodies 
> in caskets over living corals... and who get paid regardless of 
> whether they arrive alive or dead). So as much as hobbyists may be 
> passionate about their aquarium friends, it is no small investment, 
> and thus there is a huge economic incentive to try and keep them 
> alive. If you are good enough at coral husbandry, it is possible to 
> reduce those costs (or even profit) by selling frags. Whereas the 
> aquarists that aren't responsible enough to keep corals alive in their
tank usually give up fairly quickly because of the costs of replacement.
> When it comes to hiring an aquarium service company to install and 
> maintain a tank, most of these clients do not really know (or care 
> about) the nuances between a true living reef aquarium ecosystem and a 
> saltwater fish tank decorated with replica corals. As long as 'Dory' 
> and 'Nemo' are swimming around, that's enough for them. The difference 
> in cost between setting up and maintaining a reef tank versus a 
> saltwater fish tank is significant. Particularly on the maintenance 
> end. A saltwater fish tank might require service only once per week, 
> whereas a truly thriving coral reef aquarium needs daily attention 
> (and stocking it is super $$$). The additional equipment, lighting, 
> and additives required to keep corals alive makes the 
> installation/maintenance costs significantly higher as well. Most 
> clients, regardless of how deep their pockets are, will balk at weekly 
> coral replacements if they keep dying in their tank. And as Sarah 
> mentioned, there are decent coral replicas made for decoration, and 
> many of the saltwater tanks you see in public utilize them or just live
rock. In fact, up until the turn of the 21st century, almost all 'coral
> exhibits at major public aquariums lacked living corals, and relied on 
> these replicas.
> Unfortunately, popular TV shows like 'Tanked' show the public a 
> garnish, 'less than woke' side of the saltwater aquarium hobby, and 
> most reef aquarists wince when you bring that show up in conversation. 
> Like all reality tv shows, what it shows the viewer has little bearing on
> (full disclosure, I've never even been able to sit through a whole 
> episode). They also deal mostly in saltwater fishtanks with fake 
> corals. We can get into the weeds discussing the ethics of a saltwater 
> fish tank versus a living reef aquarium, but unless you are a strict 
> vegan, there isn't much anyone can say that will make me think that 
> eating a bluefin tuna is somehow more ethical than trying to keep a 
> wild angelfish alive in a tank for someone's enjoyment. Yes people 
> need to eat, and the ocean is an important food source for billions on 
> Earth, but be mindful that most seafood eaten in the US is at 
> restaurants, and thus is not subsistence for us. Most of the lobsters 
> harvested in the US are now being shipped to China to feed their 
> luxury seafood market. Advances in aquaculture are needed in order to 
> grow both food fish, and also ornamental ones to reduce fishing 
> pressure on wild reefs. However, the ornamental reef fishery can be 
> significantly more sustainable than food fishing, which often targets one
large high value species, resulting in overfishing and unnecessary bycatch.
> Reef fish are usually caught by hand, are smaller in size (and thus 
> faster to repopulate), and are extremely diverse. Most tropical fish 
> collectors are local, and the income from their fishing goes directly 
> into their communities. Conversely, much of the commercial fishing 
> today is done by multi-national factory ships that fish in 
> international or another country's territorial waters. Damaging 
> fishing practices for the aquarium trade like cyanide fishing still 
> exists, but has been significantly reduced in recent decades (largely due
to industry-promoted awareness campaigns).
> Most cyanide caught fish do not survive well for long, so again, not 
> much economic incentive to continue fishing that way. A bigger problem 
> today is the cyanide fishing for live fish markets in Asia (these fish 
> don't need to live as long obviously). I see the Asian seafood and 
> traditional medicine markets being considerably more damaging to the
world's wildlife stocks.
> Regardless of what we might think of our capitalist system, there has 
> to be economic incentive to do anything in order for it to be truly 
> self-sustaining. That includes the aquarium, dive, and conservation 
> industries. Until divers feel compelled to be part of the reef 
> restoration solution and choose to adopt-a-coral, I don't see how 
> eco-tourism is going to save the reefs. Fortunately, I don't think 
> this is really that hard to do. Most people have fond memories as a 
> child planting a tree on Earth Day, and that same enjoyment can be 
> even richer when it comes to restoring an ecosystem like a reef. My 
> mom 'adopted' a manatee (hi 'Troy'!) for my 10th birthday and I can 
> say it made a huge impact feeling like I had a connection to a 
> creature from a place I could only imagine. I can only hope that 
> anyone that belongs to the Coral List considers 'adopting a coral' as 
> a gift to a younger family member for their birthday from the CRF or other
restoration non-profit.
> Most recreational divers seem to be much more tuned into the 
> charismatic megafauna than they are with the macroscape of the reef. I 
> don't blame the dive industry for their slow uptake on the coral 
> mariculture revolution, but it takes a unified front and strong 
> communication to relay these opportunities to recreational divers. 
> What CRF is doing is changing the game, and I see that trickling down 
> into the dive industry starting through Divers Alert Magazine, and 
> with PADI introducing a coral restoration specialty. As much as divers 
> race to see 'the last pristine reefs' on Earth (before the other 
> tourist divers ruin it, right?), we need to instill an even bigger 
> sense of pride and accomplishment for the recreational divers who choose
restoration over exploring some remote island.
> The fisherman who collect these corals and fish should truly be seen 
> as allies. Many of the Australian corals that are exported are not 
> 'traditional' reef building corals. They are frequently coming from 
> turbid areas where there is little tourist (or research) diving. I 
> believe that the government asks these Australian collectors to gather 
> and provide data to researchers who otherwise have little access to 
> these oddball sites/species. The Acroporas shipped from Australia are 
> usually only the species that aren't maricultured in Indonesia (which 
> ship and survive significantly better than wild Acros). Rather than 
> focusing on an outright ban, anyone concerned about over-collection of 
> Australian corals should instead support initiatives that promote 
> closed system aquaculture or ocean-based mariculture, such that 
> eventually the need to export their wild corals will dwindle. Tropical 
> North Queensland could develop a sustainable industry from one of its 
> most irreplaceable and imperiled natural resources. Any breakthroughs 
> in ornamental coral aquaculture should be seen as equally beneficial 
> to coral restoration allies. Currently, the most economic incentive to 
> develop these techniques is coming from the private hobby sector, but 
> once developed, such aquacultured Australian corals could be grown for
eventual restoration/conservation/research use.
> Last thing I'll mention is that until very recently, there have been 
> few coral research institutions that offer any courses or training in 
> closed-system coral aquaculture. My experience in the early 2000's (at 
> UM and JCU) is that the aquaculture departments and coral biology 
> departments don't really overlap. Aquaculture classes focus almost 
> exclusively on food fish production. And coral biology departments 
> don't really teach captive care requirements. Maintenance of lab tanks 
> is often pawned off to undergrads/interns who have even less of an 
> understanding or interest. This isn't a recipe for good coral science. 
> It is my hope that we will see institutions offering coral aquaculture 
> accreditation courses so that biologists can perform closed-system 
> research with the confidence to understand and eliminate the myriad of 
> variables that can otherwise impact coral growth/health in 
> aquarium-based studies. I am hopeful that the recently opened National 
> Coral Reef Institute up the road at Nova Southeastern in Dania Beach, 
> FL and the Florida Aquarium's Apollo Beach coral nurseries will be 
> part of that sea change that enables coral biologists with 
> aquacultural skills to last a lifetime. From what I understand there 
> is a new coral aquaculture research base opening in Townsville, 
> Australia. This is exciting news, and I hope that the knowledge gained 
> from these new high-tech, scientist-led facilities will be shared with 
> all to ensure that corals will thrive in the wild and captivity for
centuries to come.
> Cheers,
> Colin Foord
> Coral Morphologic
> On Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 12:00 PM, 
> <coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> wrote:
> > Send Coral-List mailing list submissions to
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> >
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> >
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> >
> > When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific 
> > than "Re: Contents of Coral-List digest...", e.g., cut and paste the 
> > Subject line from the individual message you are replying to. Also, 
> > please only include quoted text from prior posts that is necessary 
> > to make your point; avoid re-sending the entire Digest back to the list.
> >
> >
> > Today's Topics:
> >
> >    1. 2017 AMLC Scientific Conference - poster abstracts        deadline
> >       (Lewis, Cynthia)
> >    2. Re: Response: "Worst places to harvest coral for aquarium
> >       trade?" (Sander Scheffers)
> >    3. Further response: Worst places to harvest coral for       aquarium
> >       trade? (Russell Kelley BYOGUIDES)
> >    4. Re: Coral-List Digest, Vol 104, Issue 5 (Ron Hill (NOAA Federal))
> >    5. Worst places to harvest coral for aquarium trade? (Damien 
> > Beri)
> >
> >
> > --------------------------------------------------------------------
> > --
> >
> > Message: 1
> > Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2017 21:17:06 +0000
> > From: "Lewis, Cynthia" <cynthialewis at usf.edu>
> > Subject: [Coral-List] 2017 AMLC Scientific Conference - poster
> >         abstracts       deadline
> > To: "members at lists.amlc-carib.org" <members at lists.amlc-carib.org>,
> >         "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" 
> > <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> >
> > Cc: "board at lists.amlc-carib.org" <board at lists.amlc-carib.org>
> > Message-ID:
> >         <MWHPR08MB26723B57998F05F04A1DDAB9C40D0 at MWHPR08MB2672.namprd
> > 08.prod.outlook.com>
> >
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> >
> > Marine Science in a Changing Climate Greetings everyone!
> > Tomorrow, Friday 7 April is the final deadline to submit your 
> > abstracts for POSTER presentations for the 2017 AMLC Scientific 
> > Conference in
> Merida,
> > Yucatan, Mexico
> > http://www.amlc-carib.org/meetings/2017/2017.html
> >
> > More conference updates:
> > Our opening plenary speaker will be Dr. Ernesto Weil. He is 
> > Professor of Coral Reef Biology & Ecology and Systematics at the 
> > University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez. We are looking forward to his 
> > talk on Coral Reefs in a Changing Sea: "Nature" vs. "Nurture"?
> >
> > See you in Merida!
> >
> > Cindy Lewis
> > Communications Committee
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------
> >
> > Message: 2
> > Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2017 02:56:04 +0000
> > From: Sander Scheffers <Sander.Scheffers at scu.edu.au>
> > Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Response: "Worst places to harvest coral for
> >         aquarium        trade?"
> > To: Russell Kelley BYOGUIDES <russell at byoguides.com>
> > Cc: Coral List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> > Message-ID: <4E0C87E2-9C0C-41DF-89FC-72964B6B765A at scu.edu.au>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> >
> > Hi Russell,
> >
> > Interesting story. Do you have data to support your claim that most
> corals
> > from the GBR are collected from "inter reef areas"?
> >
> > Many Acroporids, the most sought after genus, are shallow water 
> > species
> > (2-20m) and can not survive those high sediment and low light
> >
> > Also from own experience, finding other hard corals on those deeper
> > (35-50m) sand flats, is like finding a needle in a haystack.
> >
> > Collecting coral and selling them on straight after 3 days is not 
> > sustainable, as I believe there is a 200 ton combined live coral
> collection
> > license per year for the GBR, please correct me if I am wrong. Let 
> > alone "live rock" collection.
> >
> > Farming coral is a more sustainable solution I believe.
> >
> > Kind regards, Sander
> >
> > Dr. Sander Scheffers
> >
> > Senior Lecturer (Hoogleraar), School of Environment, Science & 
> > Engineering, Southern Cross University
> >
> > Honorary Research Fellow, University of Queensland, QLD, Australia
> >
> > Associate Researcher, Caribbean Institute for Biodiversity 
> > (CARMABI), Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
> >
> > Military Rd, Lismore NSW 2477
> > T: 02 6620 3277<tel:02%206620%203277> | E: 
> > sander.scheffers at scu.edu.au
> <ma
> > ilto:sander.scheffers at scu.edu.au>
> > CRICOS Provider: 01241G
> >
> > On 6 Apr 2017, at 22:26, Russell Kelley BYOGUIDES 
> > <russell at byoguides.com <mailto:russell at byoguides.com>> wrote:
> >
> >
> > Hello Damien
> >
> > I was intrigued and a little troubled to read your post...  "Worst 
> > places to harvest coral for aquarium trade?? ?.which singled out 
> > Australian
> coral
> > collecting as a particular problem in the great and good fight to
> conserve
> > the world's reefs. First, by way of background, and in the interest 
> > of
> full
> > disclosure, I am author of the Indo Pacific Coral Finder and I run 
> > coral
> ID
> > training workshops around the world including for members of the 
> > coral collecting industry in Australia with whom I am in occasional 
> > contact. I have also participated in the Queensland Coral Fishery 
> > Ecological Risk Assessment  - a state government process which 
> > regulates the collection
> of
> > corals within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. (Queensland is an 
> > Australian state.)
> >
> > In your post to Coral List you rightly raise concerns about coral 
> > collecting which in some parts of the world is a smash and grab
> > However your statement... "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.?  ...is profoundly
> >
> > The Queensland coral fishery is the most regulated of any I can think
> > It is a licensed fishery, with a modest, science based collection 
> > quota spread across a vast geographic range. The coral collectors 
> > have to
> comply
> > with state, federal and international regulations. Much, perhaps 
> > most, of the coral collected does not come from the shallow water 
> > ?reef? as people know it from pictures of divers, corals and swarms 
> > of fish. Rather it
> comes
> > from the Great Barrier Inter-Reef - thousands of square kilometres 
> > of
> soft
> > sediment habitats where collectors are literally able to exercise 
> > the option of never collecting twice in the same place.
> >
> > So your blanket statement - "Understandably any harvesting of live 
> > coral is detrimental when the corals are directly removed from a 
> > reef.? - dismisses the hard work and good faith of all of those in 
> > government and industry who are ?doing the right thing? in planning, 
> > managing and participating in a sustainable coral collecting 
> > industry. And your urging for people? "not to buy things like 
> > Australian corals (which can be the most expensive and profitable)? 
> > ...shows you are unaware of: (a) this
> well
> > managed, regulated, sustainable fishery, and, (b) the fact that 
> > price
> does
> > not necessarily equate with profit. Sustainability costs money. In 
> > my
> view
> > you should be steering aquarists towards purchasing corals from 
> > these sources - passionately.
> >
> > You ask for the Coral List community to:  "Please provide me with 
> > any articles, data, or videos of proof to such destructive 
> > attributes of live coral harvesting.?  ?and I am sure that people 
> > will be able to send you examples from the many unregulated 
> > fisheries spread around the Coral Triangle. However, to my 
> > knowledge, as an observer of the industry, Australia is not among 
> > them. Instead let me point you to PROVISION REEF
> the
> > organisation that represents the coral collecting industry in 
> > Queensland...  http://www.provisionreef.org.au  ? You might also 
> > want to contact the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for 
> > further information about coral collecting and what it takes to run 
> > a highly regulated, multi-user marine park.
> >
> > Finally, you ask:   ?"how can aquarists confirm their corals are as
> > sustainably harvested as possible??  ?I would suggest you direct 
> > your efforts towards persuading the aquarium industry to promote 
> > transparent supply chains that expose which livestock (corals and 
> > fish) come from regulated / well managed fisheries. Only then will 
> > the customer be free
> to
> > make a sustainable choice and your energies will not have been spent 
> > attacking people who are doing the right thing.
> >
> > Russell
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Russell Kelley
> > russell at byoguides.com<mailto:russell at byoguides.com> <mailto:
> > russell at byoguides.com>
> >
> > Manager: BYOGUIDES (Be Your Own Guide)
> > Author: Reef Finder <http://www.byoguides.com/reeffinder/> - the 
> > world?s first searchable underwater ID smart guide to reef life
> > Author: Indo Pacific Coral Finder 
> > <http://www.byoguides.com/coralfinder/
> >
> > - the world?s first searchable underwater ID smart guide to corals 
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> > http://www.byoguides.com/subscribe/>
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> > <http://www.byoguides.com/> 
> > www.coralhub.info<http://www.coralhub.info> 
> > <http://www.coralhub.info/> 
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> > http://www.russellkelley.info/>
> >
> >
> > Int. + 61 (0) 7 47804380 ph.
> > Int. + 61 (0) 419 716730 mob.
> > P.O. Box 1859, Townsville, 4810, AUSTRALIA ABN 66208215206 GMT + 10 
> > hours
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> > russellkelley at mac.com>
> > Skype: wireruss
> >
> > Writer, project manager, television producer, science communication 
> > consultant.
> >
> > Program Director
> > Coral Identification Capacity Building Program
> >
> > Adjunct Senior Lecturer
> > College of Marine and Environmental sciences James Cook University
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Coral-List mailing list
> > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> >
> > ------------------------------
> >
> > Message: 3
> > Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2017 20:29:42 +1000
> > From: Russell Kelley BYOGUIDES <russell at byoguides.com>
> > Subject: [Coral-List] Further response: Worst places to harvest coral
> >         for     aquarium trade?
> > To: Coral List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> > Message-ID: <0F3CCF12-E5C5-4A35-B2FF-E69413F825BF at byoguides.com>
> > Content-Type: text/plain;       charset=utf-8
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Good day Sander
> >
> > Thanks for the follow up. To your questions...
> >
> >
> > Hi Russell,
> >
> > Interesting story. Do you have data to support your claim that most
> corals
> > from the GBR are collected from "inter reef areas??
> >
> >
> >
> > To be clear I said, "Much, perhaps most, of the coral collected does 
> > not come from the shallow water ?reef? as people know it from 
> > pictures of divers, corals and swarms of fish.?
> >
> > While I know this to be true anecdotally from my ID training and 
> > site visits to coral collectors, I decided to ring a couple of 
> > geographically widely separated Queensland collectors this afternoon 
> > and ask them: one quoted the ratio of 60 / 40 (inter-reef / reef 
> > collection ratio), the
> other
> > was 50 / 50.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Many Acroporids, the most sought after genus, are shallow water 
> > species
> > (2-20m) and can not survive those high sediment and low light
> >
> > While the genus Acropora / Montipora are sort after by aquarists so 
> > too are many other genera: Cycloseris, Catalaphyllia, Scolymia, 
> > Acanthastrea, Echinophyllia, Acanthophyllia, Trachyphylllia, Goniopora,
Turbinaria etc.
> > many of which have low light/ sediment rejecting species with the 
> > kind of colours and behaviours aquarists enjoy.  If you trawl around 
> > a variety of aquarium community  sites you?ll see it?s not all about
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Also from own experience, finding other hard corals on those deeper
> > (35-50m) sand flats, is like finding a needle in a haystack.
> >
> > I have to disagree with you here. The Great Barrier Inter-Reef is a 
> > vast and variable thing - it?s estimated to be about 210 000 square 
> > kilometres out of the 344 400 sq. km GBR Marine park. It?s ecology 
> > and biology is
> best
> > described as patchy. When the GBR Marine Park was rezoned around 
> > 2004 the science described ~70 bioregions spread over the 2000km 
> > length of the
> GBR -
> > basically a reflection of the various combinations mud / sand / 
> > current / light and coastal influence possible in this vast system. 
> > Inter-reefal corals can be found anywhere in the system and it would 
> > be a mistake to think that there is a bias to 35-50m.
> >
> > There are distinctive coral communities on the inter-tidal flats of 
> > the coast / rocky islands, in the inshore muck of shallow costal 
> > bays, around inshore islands, between the reefs on sediments, 
> > between the reef on patches or "isolates", between the reefs on 
> > submerged shoals, and,
> between
> > the reefs in high, medium and low current flows. The coral 
> > collectors
> know
> > what to look for by a combination of context, depth, sounder texture 
> > and have no trouble finding them. Though they avoid the deeper 
> > reaches for practical workplace health reasons. (Indeed it's hard to 
> > find 50m depth except in the southern third of the GBR Marine park.) 
> > In my experience, while the coral collectors may not be up on the 
> > latest literature, they know a lot more about what-lives-where 
> > across that 210 000 sq. km. of the inter-reef than scientists like me.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Collecting coral and selling them on straight after 3 days is not 
> > sustainable, as I believe there is a 200 ton combined live coral
> collection
> > license per year for the GBR, please correct me if I am wrong. Let 
> > alone "live rock" collection.
> >
> > The coral collectors I spoke with where puzzled by the "3 day? 
> > figure you quote - saying more typical holding times are 3 weeks and 
> > sometimes
> months
> > (because they range across vast areas they will bring in stock and 
> > hold
> it
> > to minimise fuel costs).
> >
> > Yes the industry has a combined 200 tonne quota which includes 60 
> > tonnes of "specialty corals? and 140 tonnes of ?other?. Bizarrely
> includes
> > Acropora, Pocillopora, the ?softs? and live rock. Apparently this is 
> > a historical hangover relating to the evolution the industry from 
> > the days
> of
> > the ?curio trade?). To my mind the coral take seems trivial spread 
> > across the 210 000 square kilometres of "inter-reef" and 134 400 sq. 
> > km of
> ?reef?.
> > Particularly when one considers coral eating fish like the bumphead 
> > parrotfish are estimated to process 5 tonne / year. (Bellwood et al.
> 2003).
> > The GBR is the kind of place where you can still see these massive 
> > fish
> in
> > schools of 50 - so it?s conceivable that in one year, one school 
> > could
> eat
> > more coral on one reef than the coral collecting industry processes 
> > from the entire GBR Marine Park. (Bellwood DR, Hoey AS, Choat JH 
> > (2003)
> Limited
> > functional redundancy in high diversity systems: resilience and 
> > ecosystem function on coral reefs <htt  
> > p://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1461-0248.2003.00432.x>. Ecology Letters 
> > 6:281-285).
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Farming coral is a more sustainable solution I believe.
> >
> > I agree that coral farming is an important development and aquarists 
> > themselves are fragging their own corals like there is no tomorrow.
> > However, based on my observations and experience of the Queensland 
> > Coral Fishery, the Environmental Risk Assessment process and what I 
> > know about the Great Barrier Reef I can not agree with Damien?s 
> > stance. More to the point, as I stated in my original coral list 
> > post, I believe his views
> are
> > ill-informed and disrespectful of the people ?doing the right? in a 
> > well managed coral collecting industry.
> >
> > For the time being on the Great Barrier Reef at least, for coral 
> > farming to win, it doesn?t mean wild coral collecting has to lose.
> >
> > Respectfully
> >
> > Russell
> >
> >
> > Some background:
> >
> > My Blue Highway publication sought to popularise the Great Barrier 
> > Inter-reef via a simple schema:  http://www.russellkelley.info/ 
> > print/the-blue-highway/ <http://www.russellkelley.info 
> > /print/the-blue-highway/>
> >
> > See also: CAPPO, M. & KELLEY, R. 2001 Connectivity in the Great 
> > Barrier Reef World Heritage Area-an overview of pathways and 
> > processes. In Wolanski, E. Oceanographic processes of coral reefs: 
> > physical and biological links in the Great Barrier Reef: 161-187. CRC
Press, New York.
> >
> > A more recent rendering of the 70 biophysical regions down to 9
> non-reefal
> > habitats but the Seabed Biodiversity Project and was published in: 
> > Pears
> R.
> > et.al 2012 Ecological risk assessment of the East Coast Trawl 
> > Fishery in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Technical report, 
> > Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Russell Kelley
> > russell at byoguides.com <mailto:russell at byoguides.com>
> >
> > Manager: BYOGUIDES (Be Your Own Guide)
> > Author: Reef Finder <http://www.byoguides.com/reeffinder/> - the 
> > world?s first searchable underwater ID smart guide to reef life
> > Author: Indo Pacific Coral Finder 
> > <http://www.byoguides.com/coralfinder/
> >
> > - the world?s first searchable underwater ID smart guide to corals 
> > Subscribe to Dr Flotjet?s Ocean Literacy Newsletter < 
> > http://www.byoguides.com/subscribe/>
> >
> > www.byoguides.com <http://www.byoguides.com/>
> >
> > www.russellkelley.info <http://www.russellkelley.info/>
> >
> >
> > Int. + 61 (0) 7 47804380 ph.
> > Int. + 61 (0) 419 716730 mob.
> > P.O. Box 1859, Townsville, 4810, AUSTRALIA ABN 66208215206 GMT + 10 
> > hours
> > Email: russellkelley at mac.com <mailto:russellkelley at mac.com>
> > Skype: wireruss
> >
> > Writer, project manager, television producer, science communication 
> > consultant.
> >
> > Program Director
> > Coral Identification Capacity Building Program
> >
> > Adjunct Senior Lecturer
> > College of Marine and Environmental sciences James Cook University
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------
> >
> > Message: 4
> > Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2017 09:56:34 -0500
> > From: "Ron Hill (NOAA Federal)" <ron.hill at noaa.gov>
> > Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Coral-List Digest, Vol 104, Issue 5
> > To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > Message-ID: <8f1bafaa-e89f-53f7-5920-a9f1c25caf4d at noaa.gov>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
> >
> > Colin,
> >
> > You make some very good points about folks who keep aquaria and spend
> > time and money in pursuit of coral aquaculture.  I know some of those
> > folks and agree they can produce ecological insights and benefits.
> > However, as with the discussion of divers and the dive industry being
> > inherently different - there are also a very large number of people
> > worldwide - who simply keep aquaria to look at and enjoy.  This includes
> > companies that set-up, stock, and manage aquaria for businesses and
> > individuals.  Many fish and corals die in these tanks and are simply
> > replaced to maintain the aesthetic beauty of the tank without regard to
> > the ecological costs.  Any idea how many of these types of tanks and
> > fish tank people there are worldwide compared to those who actively
> > culture corals, etc?  Seems this is an important statistic to discuss in
> > the stated context of harvest of wild corals.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > ron
> > > Message: 5
> > > Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2017 13:11:06 -0400
> > > From: Coral Morphologic <coralmorphologic at gmail.com>
> > > Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Worst places to harvest coral for aquarium
> > >       trade?
> > > To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > > Message-ID:
> > >       <CADNNdUrcN0OxCZNYmPKcNHT5v70Z_R1fmpUUQ5gODz1b4z9GEA at mail.g
> > mail.com>
> > > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> > >
> > > Damien and Sarah,
> > >
> > > Most hobbyists who are aquaculturing corals in their homes feel very
> > > passionate about preserving the coral reefs, and want to help stem the
> > > losses. Captive corals don't get 'loved to death'... if they are
> > > properly-cared for, they will grow until they need to be pruned (like
> > > plant), and then those fragments can be given/traded/sold to another
> > > hobbyist to perpetuate the wild lineage. Anyone investing thousands of
> > > hours of time, and then thousands of dollars of money into keeping a
> > > miniature coral reef ecosystem in their homes should be seen as an
> ally,
> > > not enemy. Furthermore, the information and understanding that
> hobbyists
> > > have provided about coral husbandry over the past 3 decades has
> provided
> > > scientists a major base to work off in the 21st century. Don't forget
> > that
> > > the first/most important coral restoration non-profit, the Coral
> > > Restoration Foundation, was founded by an ornamental marine life
> > collector
> > > and aquaculturist. Not by a scientist, or an environmental group.
> > Sometimes
> > > the best ideas come from unlikely allies and outside the box thinking.
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------
> >
> > Message: 5
> > Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2017 10:59:29 -0400
> > From: Damien Beri <beridl at g.cofc.edu>
> > Subject: [Coral-List] Worst places to harvest coral for aquarium
> >         trade?
> > To: Coral -List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> > Cc: coralmorphologic at gmail.com, Sander.Scheffers at scu.edu.au,
> >         matthew.eric.clark at gmail.com
> > Message-ID: <536777DF-2001-4686-8DCB-B2EA1A71616C at g.cofc.edu>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
> >
> > Thank you to all contributors of this email, there is so much to say but
> I
> > will speak on the points I feel have resonated the most.
> >
> > Just to mention prior: I am still actively waiting for some intel (data,
> > photos, videos) on areas, regions, operations that have been negatively
> > effected by live coral harvesting. So far I have heard only good things.
> >
> > Also to clarify:  My reference to ?enemy? is not geared towards the
> > trade, aquarists, or suppliers. I owe much knowledge to working in the
> > aquarium industry with corals. The enemy I am referring to are the
> hidden,
> > unsustainable players who take part in the trade daily and profit
> heavily.
> > Most people would agree there is a lot of sustainable, as well as
> > unsustainable Coral Harvesting taking place.  It is hard to identify
> those
> > players respectfully, it is becoming more clear through this email chain
> > how hard this truly is.
> >
> > Matthew Clark, you raise a very valid point.  The source's of aquarium
> > corals that shops utilize are almost always kept secret.  Even if you
> are a
> > buyer who just purchased a beautiful colony, and ask what the source of
> the
> > coral is, the shop will normally tell you a region if they are aware of
> > it.  They will almost certainly not reveal their supplier specifically
> even
> > if you ask (I am sure there are a select few who do).  This would be
> > block #1 for even the most avid sustainable aquarist.
> >
> > 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.   You are very right,
> > "persuading the aquarium industry to promote transparent supply chains?
> > would highlight who these sustainable, and destructive players are.
> > would someone persuade the aquarium industry as a whole to do such a
> > thing?  I don?t think thats possible, it needs to come from a bottom up
> > stance, and from CITES, inducing sustainable mariculture and aquaculture
> as
> > a standard and the only method allowed.  This would drastically raise
> > prices of Corals for the aquarium trade, but then again its all relative
> > and a price humans affix.  Their ecological value is not incorporated
> into
> > these prices.  It would also exponentially increase the cost of LPS
> > corals.  (Scolymia, Cynaria, Lobophyllia, Heliofungia, Acanthastrea,
> > Cataphyllia)
> >
> > Ryan Donnelly & Russell Kelley
> > I am sorry, but the types of Soft Fleshy Corals (LPS) that come out of
> > Australia for the Aquarium trade are extremely slow growing, taking on
> > average 3-5, even 10 years to even obtain a sellable size! (Scolymia,
> > Cynaria, Lobophyllia, Heliofungia, Acanthastrea, Cataphyllia) to name
> > common Australian LPS exports.  I find it hard to rely on a report once
> > every 3 years conducted most likely with minimal funding, could
> > successfully monitor these animals, especially over the vast range they
> > inhabit.  I understand its a natural resource which should be governed
> > locally, but as the current state of the GBR shows, local governance has
> > had little effect on halting actions which further deteriorate the GBR
> > water quality, ecology, and resilience.  Receiving a D, several years in
> a
> > row on your own report card for GBR water quality, removing all mentions
> of
> > your name from UN reports, and still approving plans to build large coal
> > mines upstream from the GBR doesn?t sound good to me, and
> >   does not instill trust.  Also, just because Australia?s regulations
> > actually in place for coral harvesting, and they maintain quotas, which
> is
> > far better than most countries does not mean they are correct.  Just
> > because your ahead of the crowd, does not mean you are on the right
> >
> > ^^^^^^^^^
> > Please explain what modifications to harvesting have occurred given the
> > events taken place in the past 2 years?
> >
> >
> > Sarah, while I understand there are alternatives to utilizing live
> > aquarium subjects for display, this would completely deny the right for
> > newer generations to learn the valuable lessons live corals can teach
> > them.  I am sure there is a lot of valuable information live coral
> > specimens taught you that no dried specimen ever could.  I am sure you
> used
> > those lessons in such a way to make a huge difference for Coral Reefs in
> > certain parts of the world, Thank You!
> >
> > Colin, You have been an outstanding advocate for the beauty and
> importance
> > of Coral.  I encourage everyone to watch some of the video's Colin has
> > produced through Coral Morphologic because they show Coral in a light
> that
> > is rarely seen and appreciated by those outside the hobby/field. The
> > ability to learn to grow corals in aquariums has granted innovation and
> > discoveries that would possibly be nonexistent today.  The knowledge
> gained
> > by keeping these delicate animals alive in aquarium systems is
> > interdisciplinary on every level.  Learning how to reliably induce
> > spawning in an aquarium would be the next greatest leap for active reef
> > restoration, aside from reducing CO2 emissions!
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Damien Beri
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Coral-List mailing list
> > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> >
> > End of Coral-List Digest, Vol 104, Issue 6
> > ******************************************
> >
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