Environment
9:08 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Professor: some harvesting of coral is good

Bradley Campbell reports.
"The aquarium trade is often seen as this negative force on the environment especially the marine aquarium trade and I think it is a much more nuanced question than that."

The trade of live coral for home aquariums is continuing to drop internationally. While the practice is in decline, a Roger Williams University professor says promoting its growth has the ability to actually help coral reefs.


Coral has long been used by aquarium owners looking for additional ways to decorate fish tanks.  Roger Williams University Professor Andrew Rhyne says the buying and selling of live coral has almost always been view poorly.

“The aquarium trade is often seen as this negative force on the environment especially the marine aquarium trade and I think it’s a much more nuanced question than that.”

Rhyne says the expansion of the live coral trade can actually help reefs. He says the trade can provide an economic boost to small island nations. And that economic boost can be used to protect the reefs from where the live coral are taken.
But Rhyne warns that such benefits could be in danger as more and more types of coral receive protection under the Endangered Species Act. He says that while protecting the species is critical, it must be done in a way that incorporates the potential benefits of its cultivation.
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