Les coraux et leur commerce

TitreLes coraux et leur commerce
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuteursGuillaume, MMM
JournalBulletin de la Societe Zoologique de France

The trade in Recent corals represents an important harvest of biological materials and is a highly lucrative activity. The designation "corals" comprises different groups of animals belonging to the phylum Cnidaria. Members of these groups are subject to coral trade. The red coral, Corallium rubrum, has been harvested for the jewellery trade for more than 2000 years. Italy, Spain, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and to a lesser extent France and Monaco, exploit this resource, which is essentially limited to the western Mediterranean sea. Other species of Corallium are collected for jewellery and ornamental industries in Asia, Hawaii and Japan in particular. Scleractinians, previously called madrepores, represent the most important coral trade, ranging between 11 and 12 million live pieces per year. After 1993, Indonesia became the leading exporter, taking over from the Philippines. Since 2003, new archipelagos in the central Pacific such as Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have ventured into the market for corals. Target markets are mostly the United States, Europe and Japan for trade in aquarium specimens and ornaments. Pressure on the few coral species, belonging to only 7 genera, that are mostly collected for the aquarium trade is high and CITES working groups are attempting to monitor the sustainability of the harvests. Live rock is used for aquarium filtration because of the porosity of the coral skeletons that constitute them. Coral blocks and sand are traditionally used for construction. Their extraction has a devastating effect on reef environments and generates only low monetary returns. The burning of coral calcareous skeletons produces lime that may be utilized for construction and soil enrichment on volcanic islands. This activity is still practised in Indonesia. The use of coral skeletons in bone grafts remains anecdotal.ce corals (Stylasteridae) and organ coral are traded as ornaments. The former are harvested in Japan, Taiwan and Hawaii. Black coral (Antipatharia), blue coral (Helioporacea) and some Melithaeidae gorgonians (Alcyonacea), the latter often mistaken for red coral, are used for jewellery. Black coral is highly valued and comes mainly from Taiwan. A fisheries management model has been established for the corals Antipathes dichotoma and Corallium secundum in Hawaii.