CIBJO releases Coral Commission Special Report,
looks into sustaining and repopulating precious coral reefs

OCTOBER 3, 2018

With fewer than two weeks to go to the opening of the 2018 CIBJO Congress in Bogotá, Colombia, on October 15, 2018, the eighth and the final of the CIBJO commissions’ Special Reports has been released. Prepared by the CIBJO Coral Commission, headed by Vincenzo Liverino, the report looks at a variety of topics related to precious coral reef sustainability, including government regulation of harvesting, research into methods for repopulating depleted areas, the use of DNA and Blockchain in achieving traceability, and online education.

“The industry encourages the enforcement of the current regulations and, as more scientific data on existing [precious coral] populations becomes available, hopes that harvesting and conservation practices be adapted so that resources are better managed, which is in the best interest of not only the ecosystem, but also the trade,” writes Mr. Liverino.

The special report highlights a number of research projects currently underway in Japan and Monte Carlo, where precious coral samples are being grown under controlled conditions in the laboratory, and in certain cases then transplanted on the seabed.

At a project on Birou island, off the coast of Japan, being conducted by the Precious Coral Protection and Development Association and the Kuroshio Biological Research Foundation, 223 small Corallium japonicum branches were first grown in tanks under controlled conditions and eventually attached to reef-growing blocks positioned underwater at depths of 100 metres. “With the transplanting phase now completed, growth rates are being monitored and other data collected. An encouraging growth rate was recorded both before and after transplantation, and there is a remarkable survival rate of 99 percent,” Mr. Liverino writes.

At the upcoming CIBJO Congress in Bogotá, an online course prepared by the Coral Commission will be presented. Catering to retailers selling precious coral jewellery, it  covers a range of topics, including  the history and cultural relevance of precious coral in many parts of the world, a layperson’s review of the biology and taxonomy of coral, information about geographic occurrences, accepted trade names for each species, treatments and imitations, CITES and fishing  regulations, sustainability concerns, product-care recommendations and a list of scientific references.

“It is hoped that the online course syllabus could become a model and primary reference for gemmological and jewellery schools creating their own educational materials,” Mr. Liverino notes.  “They too have a primary role to play in raising the general awareness about precious coral and the sustainability of harvested gem materials within the trade.”

To download a full copy of the CIBJO Coral Commission’s special report, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

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