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Photo Story: “Precious Corals At Risk” - International Delegates Reverse Their Original Decision To Protect Red Coral (Corallium) Species

In June 2007, International delegates determined the fact of red coral species at the 14th Conference of Parties (CoP14) of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). A proposal to protect red corals (Corallium) initially passed with 62 countries voting in support of the listing. However,delegates voted by secret ballot to overturn their initial decision to list these overfished species. Red and pink coral are the most valuable of all precious corals which are used to make jewelry such as necklaces and earrings as well as home decor items like objets d'art, and even lamp stands (see photos). Such demand is driving exploitation and threatening their survival. Yet, precious coral species like Corallium species are not included in international agreements which can monitor and regulate their trade.

Furthermore, shallow colonies have been so heavily exploited that fishers are now targeting deeper water colonies using bottom trawls – one of the world’s most destructive fishing methods (see photos). Bottom trawls destroy seafloor features and kill or remove substantial numbers of sessile organisms in their path.

Red and pink coral are the most valuable of all precious corals which are used to make jewelry such as necklaces and earrings as well as home decor items like objets d'art, and even lamp stands (see photos). Such demand is driving exploitation and threatening their survival. Yet, precious coral species like Corallium species are not included in international agreements which can monitor and regulate their trade.

Too Precious To Wear, a newly formed campaign aims to address this issue by engaging jewelry producers and retailers as partners to protect coral species. For more information visit www.tooprecioustowear.org

View More Images of Red Coral (Corallium) Species and Coral Jewelry

View More Images of Bottom Trawling

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Compiled by the Marine Photobank.