How coral trade could save the reefs!

Many of us know that problem – you have guests at your home, they admire your reef tank, and at some point the discussion about wild harvest corals starts. Latest when you tell them about the origin of coral, you often get the following or similar answers: “I think that’s not good, because the reefs are in danger.” And often it is hard to justify, unless you have your tank filled exclusively with private frags.

For sure, many of us know, that wild harvest corals in trade are still at a very large number. But just as well we know, that the growth of the scene boosts Bali-Farm corals or for example clams from special clam farms.

Not at least, the clownfish is an example of what great demand leads to. An extensive breeding and supplying the aquarium with selective new color variants. For the industry, it’s always interesting to develop new ways of breeding, if there’s some money earned.

Moreover, I heard out of the trading scene, there’s a great example: Zebrasoma flavescens – Yellow tang! Thus, a certain percentage of the captive wild animals are bred and returned to the wild – more than what would naturally get adult at the reefs.

Scientists at the Roger Williams University (RWU), Boston University (BU), Conservation International (CI) and the New England Aquarium (NEAq) have now released a study on the trade of corals and their long-term effects.

Their assumptions:

  • Between 1990 and mid-2000, the coral trade has increased by 6% per year and has since decreased at 9% per annum. This is first of all a result of the economic situation. The time varies greatly between species and is also a result of the growing number of nano-tanks, the global financial crisis and the growth of aquaculture.
  • A real economic success can be achieved by marinecultured corals. There are long-term efforts to produce a sustainable income to small island countries such as the Solomon Islands and also by the government of Indonesia. Particularly on small islands, the understanding for mother colonies and thus of the nature reefs changed positively in itself.
  • According to the researchers, the trade still evolving rapidly and therefore the export of new species. These are initially very high priced, but however with the delayed feedback from the market getting cheaper by time.
  • The commercial possibilities of corals provide sustainable long-term benefits over a more economical approach to coastal communities and thus a protection of coral reefs.
  • Export bans of some Acropora species by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) . Unintentionally, the source of income for many people would be at risk that rely on the reef for a living.

Coral reefs are threatened – no question. These is mostly because of the warming of the oceans and other facts like increased nutrient pollution and overfishing

While Western countries represent the actual cause for the island states are facing more complex problems. Trade can be a more long-term incentive to protect the coral reefs and much more effectively than it can achieve export bans.

Source: Scienceblog

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