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Florida's hearings on limiting soft coral harvest come up with proposed quota

By Leonard Ho - Posted May 16, 2011 02:20 PM
As reported last month by Advanced Aquarist, Florida held public hearings and a conference call to discuss imposing limits on soft coral harvest in early May. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) now has a proposed quota for soft coral harvest. What does this mean for the aquarium trade?
Florida's hearings on limiting soft coral harvest come up with proposed quota

Pterogorgia anceps (sea whip). Photo by Don DeMaria

In April, Advanced Aquarist reported on public hearings and a conference call to discuss imposing quotas for soft coral collection in Florida.

Currently, there is a 50,000 octocoral (soft coral) colony quota in place for federal waters, managed by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.  There is no quota set for state waters.  The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council intends to remove octocoral from its Coral and Coral Reef Fishery Management Plan, and the FWC has agreed to manage the fishery in both state and federal waters.

The FWC is now considering an annual quota of 70,000 colonies for state and federal waters combined.

What does this mean for the aquarium trade?  In practical terms: nothing.  70,000 colonies is above what is currently being harvested, so supply of Caribbean soft corals should be unaffected by the new proposed quota.  The FWC is still considering lowering the quota since the federal quota of 50,000 colonies has never been reached.  The FWC will present recommendations on June 8 and 9.

There is an estimated 8 to 29 billion octocoral colonies in the Florida Keys alone, so whatever quota (if any) is imposed, the aquarium trade's impact on coral reefs is negligible.

 


via Sun Sentinel

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.

Website: http://www.advancedaquarist.com.

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