Corals

The term 'corals' encompasses both stony corals, defined as 'marine colonial polyps characterized by a calcareous skeleton that often form reefs63, soft corals and sea fans. However, most literature found on trade in live coral specimens refers to the trade in stony coral species. There has been much debate about what exactly constitutes a 'soft coral'. The term is most commonly used to refer to species of the subclass Octocorallia (class Anthozoa), which have no massive skeleton. However, the

Figure 2: Major exporters of live and wild-sourced

coral (pieces)

Totals are derived from importers' data.

Millions

1.5

1.4

71%

H 1997

1.3

3.5 million

H 1998

H 1999

1.2

H 2000

1.1

H 2001

1.0 -

™ Total

18%

0.9

0.B

0.7

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

4%

0.2

3%

0.1

0.0

Indonesia Fiji

Solomon Tonga

Islands

term 'soft coral' often extends to contain sea fans, which are actually supported by an internal axis64 and hence will be addressed separately here. In this report, we will use the term 'soft coral' to include all species under the order Alcyonacea (soft coral and Stolonifera) with the exception of Tubipora musica which, due to its calcified skeleton, we have included under stony corals. Overall, according to data held in GMAD, there are 61 species of soft corals and 140 species of stony corals in trade, although this number is to be treated with caution due to the complexity experienced in coral taxonomy.

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