Coral Commission to Focus on Sustainability of Precious Coral Reefs, Online Education at CIBJO Congress

Coral Commission to Focus on Sustainability of Precious Coral Reefs, Online Education at CIBJO Congress

The CIBJO Coral Commission has released its special report which will form the basis of discussions among delegates from the sector at the forthcoming CIBJO Congress to be held in Bogotá, Colombia, on October 15, 2018. The report, prepared by the CIBJO Coral Commission, focuses on precious coral reef sustainability projects and a newly created online education course to spread awareness about precious coral jewellery.

Among the themes discussed in the document are government regulation of harvesting, research into methods for repopulating depleted areas, the use of DNA and Blockchain in achieving traceability, and online education.

Coral Commission head Vincenzo Liverino writes, “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.”

The report discusses some of the 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.

It cites the example of 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, where 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,” Liverino writes.

At the upcoming CIBJO Congress in Bogotá, an online course prepared by the Coral Commission will also 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,” the report 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.”

Pic courtesy: CIBJO

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