Proposal 21: Corallium spp. (Red and pink coral)

 / ©: SeaWeb
Red Coral
© SeaWeb
Proposal: 21
Proponent: United States of America
Summary of proposal: Inclusion of red and pink corals Corallium spp. in Appendix II, in accordance with Article II 2(a) and Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP13).
WWF position SUPPORT


For WWF's full position, including the rationale and further information, please see page 21 in WWF Positions CITES COP14. Download PDF (3.6 MB | 48 pages)

Why is WWF supporting this proposal?

  • The life-history characteristics of the genus make Corallium communities, which are harvested mainly for the manufacture of jewellery, vulnerable to over-harvesting
  • Many Corallium beds have been subjected to rapid overexploitation, leading to exhaustion of the resource in some areas, with slow recovery
  • Non-selective, destructive harvesting equipment continues to be used in some areas, especially the Pacific
  • Corallium products are high value, and the market for these products is extensive
  • Harvest of Corallium is not managed by any existing regional fisheries management organizations, and there are no international trade controls in place
  • The combination of high value, large market, slow recovery, destructive collection, and lack of management undermines the conservation of the genus
  • It is difficult, if not impossible, to identify the species of Corallium used in a finished product. Therefore, although a limited number of species are likely exploited by the Corallium trade, conservation efforts need to focus on the entire genus.
  • Corallium spp. meet the criteria for inclusion in Appendix II under Annex 2a of Res. Conf 9.24 (Rev CoP13).

Corallium spp. quick facts

Current status: Not evaluated

Found in: Tropical, subtropical, and temperate oceans globally

Interesting biology: Corallium colonies provide habitat for sessile invertebrates and increase biodiversity where they occur. Colonies occur in geographically isolated and spatially confined communities on rocky bottom habitats, typically aggregating on banks and seamounts, under ledges, and in and around caves.

Population status: Harvest of both Mediterranean and Pacific Corallium species has followed a pattern of discovery, commercial harvest, and overexploitation, leading to a decline in abundance and exhaustion of the resource. Most shallow water populations are now characterized by non-reproductive colonies that are too small to be legally harvested. Commercially viable reefs are still found in deeper waters.

Traded as: Skeletons for jewellery and the creation of art objects; powdered skeletons for herbal or homeopathic medicines 

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