Re: NANFA-- Re:pulling our heads out of the sand & miniature
Sat, 15 Jun 2002 17:56:02 EDT

In a message dated 6/15/02 12:59:03 AM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< (I think
I've proven that there isn't much thought given to sustainable harvest) >>
I'm not sure how accurate your information is but around here you almost
never see a small polyped stony coral that was wild collected. Lots of
captive propagated coral from acropora to sylaster are available. Large
polyped stony corals are still mostly wild caught but some growers are
starting to make inroads into the that market as well. The best reason for
buying captive breed corals is that they do much better in an aquarium than
wild caught coral. There are even a few varieties of coral that have been
changed by captive propagation so much they don't even resemble wild corals
anymore, much like black lyre tail mollies and wild mollies. Advances are
being made, the last 5 years has seen tremendous advances in captive
propagation. I used to do it myself. In my area there are several people who
propagate soft coral and at least two that grow stony coral. Besides all that
the fact still remains that the amount of coral taken from the wild for
aquariums is tiny compared to the worlds reefs. One study was done taking
into account the growth of coral and it was shown that a reef area of a
couple of square miles could support all the coral being currently collected
without appreciable damage. Environmentalists would have you believe that
collecting live coral for aquariums is stripping the reefs bare but there is
no evidence to back that up. The amount of coral collected from the wild is a
very small number compared to the yearly growth of coral around the world.
Taken out of context the amount seems large but in total pounds it is
insignificant especially when you take into account the small size of
preferred coral taken. There are curio shops near me where you can go in and
buy pieces of dead coral so large it takes two people to carry them. One shop
sells tons of coral each year quite a bit of it is irreplaceable large coral
heads that wouldn't be touched for the aquarium trade. One pet shop might
move a hundred pounds of coral in a year. Even live rock is now being
cultured by dumping rock off shore in beds as well as in captive facilities.
The live coral market is much more environmentally friendly that than live
fish, even freshwater tropical fish, and due to the economic incentives more
and more coral is being captive propagated. If for no other reason captive
propagated coral and live rock lives much better than wild caught. I had to
quit keeping marine tanks because I became disabled and could no longer
afford to take care of my animals, hurricane Floyd wiped out my coral growing
efforts and left me with just freshwater tanks full of dead coral and dead
rock. I would love to start back up but the money needed is no longer there
but I do keep close track of what is going on in the industry. The advances
being made are very exciting, there is even one guy that grows live coral who
was contracted to supply coral buds to an effort that was being made to
restore a reef that had be severely damaged by dynamiting to catch food fish.
His efforts were instrumental in helping that reef to recover. Things are not
always what the seem to be and many people have an agenda that doesn't
flourish under the light of truthful inspection. The aquarium industry is a
highly visible vulnerable target. The real threat to the worlds reefs are
much harder to fight and have political clout the aquarium industry just
doesn't have.

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