Notes on Sale of Coral

ABOUT AUSTRALIAN CORAL

As pioneering coral harvesters in Queensland since 1957, we focus exclusively on the sustainable wholesale supply of Australian white coral specimens. Since 1997 we have worked in close collaboration with senior fishery managers and scientists from the Queensland Fisheries and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to ensure that coral harvesting will be a sustainable fishery well into the future. Crucial to this is our voluntary commitment to mechanisms to adapt responsibly to working in a marine environment that will be significantly altered in the future by climate change. The fishery is recognised by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority as the most sustainable fishery on the Great Barrier Reef. In November 2008, the fishery was presented as an example of the world’s best practice in ecologically sustainable fisheries management to the International Expert Workshop on CITES Non-Detriment Findings held in Cancun Mexico.

 

SUSTAINABLE HARVESTING

Over one third of the Great Barrier Reef is protected by Marine Park zoning. We harvest by hand a strictly limited quota of abundant, fast-growing corals from broad reef areas in specific reef zones. Only small numbers of corals of a limited size and premium quality are selected from each site and the majority of the coral is left intact.

It is estimated that the Great Barrier Reef accumulates an extra five million tonnes of coral per year. Our annual harvest of coral is an extremely small portion of this annual coral growth and is insignificant when compared with the impacts of natural events such as storms, cyclones and predation by crown-of-thorns starfish. After harvesting, coral will regenerate from the base or larval settlement and growth of a new colony occurs.

Controls on harvesting are achieved through stringent and robust management regulations. These include prior logbook reporting, quota limits, compliance checks, policy review and programs that monitor local conditions, bleaching, crown-of-thorns starfish and threatened species.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority reports that corals can survive bleaching events and regain their normal healthy colour once conditions improve. However, while the Great Barrier Reef has been extremely resilient in the past, coral reef scientists predict that the increasing incidence and severity of coral bleaching and acidification of the oceans through rising carbon dioxide levels threaten the future of coral reefs worldwide.

To ensure that our harvesting remains responsive to these impacts, we are signatories to a voluntary Stewardship Action Plan developed and regularly reviewed in close collaboration with senior fishery managers and coral scientists. The aim of the plan is to develop and document non-regulatory approaches for harvesting coral to world's best practice collection standards, including detailed contingency operational plans for coral bleaching events. In practical terms this includes refraining from the harvest of coral from reef areas that need the opportunity to regenerate after cyclones, flooding, bleaching and other adverse impacts.

 

ORDERING CORAL

Because we harvest only a strictly limited quota of coral, we regret that we cannot fulfil all requests to supply. Additionally, compliance with the legislation governing international trade in coral is so important that it is necessary for us to ensure that those clients whom we do supply have protocols in place to ensure that coral is not illegally taken out of Australia. Because the harvesting and trade in coral is very heavily regulated both in Australia and internationally, it is our responsibility to be able to track and trace coral to its final sale. We are sure you will understand that, as this is impossible for us to do, we are unable to supply items containing coral for sale online, at markets, fairs or retail discount stores. Please also note that:

  • Corals displayed are examples only and are not the actual pieces that are currently for sale.
  • Each piece of coral is unique and is individually priced according to the species, shape, size, quality, appearance and weight.
  • If your requested piece is not available, we may supply the best available coral that is similar to your requested size and price.
  • Colour of corals may vary considerably - from pure white, creamy white to ivory.
  • Where sizes are shown they are only an approximate average size range. The pieces you receive may vary.
  • When ordering, please identify the species that interest you and describe, in as much detail as possible, the size and shape you require so that we select pieces accordingly.
  • Additional information such as whether the coral is for retail sale, or whether it will be displayed on a table or against a wall will assist us to select your coral.
  • Please also provide the approximate size you are seeking, or a comparison to the size of either a piece of fruit, an A4, A3 or A2 page, or in one of the assorted sizes of plates.
  • We regret that it is not possible to meet requests for photos of coral pieces.
  • To assist in handling consumer enquiries about the source and sustainability of coral harvesting, please also order our free Information Cards.
  • Smaller coral is also available in bulk quantities by weight.
  • You may request us to choose a selection of coral specimens all at the one wholesale price point.

 

WHEN YOUR ORDER ARRIVES

Coral is fragile. We wrap extremely well, but once the goods leave our premises, we have no control over how they are handled. We use Fastway Couriers as they have a good track record of safely delivering coral to our clients. Larger quantities are sent by pallet. Breakages during transit are rare, but minor tip damage will occur with most corals. This will not affect the overall appearance or price of the piece of coral. Marine Arts will not be held responsible for tip damage.

We ask all clients to observe the following procedures. Should the box appear damaged, or if it is roughly handled by the courier, please do not sign accepting receipt of the goods until the carton is opened and the goods checked for possible damage in the presence of the courier. Any damage to the carton, observed rough handling or damaged contents must be noted on the Consignment Note when signing for receipt of the goods.
In the unfortunate event that a piece of coral arrives damaged, please advise us immediately and send a photograph of the coral without delay to our email address. We will then consult with you to negotiate a mutually satisfactory arrangement for either the return, replacement, refund or partial refund.

 

CARE AND CLEANING

Coral is fragile and should always be lifted from underneath to avoid breakage.

Avoid candle wax or smoke coming in contact with coral.

To maintain coral in first-class condition, clean by gentle hosing and drying in sunshine. Stronger cleaning can be achieved by soaking overnight in diluted household or swimming pool bleach.

With such care, good quality coral will remain beautiful for many generations.

 

WHITE CORAL IN AQUARIUMS

White coral is suitable for use in saltwater aquariums. However, white coral in freshwater tanks will increase the calcium content and the pH level of the water, thus affecting some fish, particularly those that require soft water. If you intend to add coral to your freshwater aquarium, we recommend you seek professional advice from your aquarium retailer.

 

TAKING OR SENDING CORAL OVERSEAS

International trade in coral is regulated under Appendix II of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).

A CITES Export permit is required for all coral that is to be taken or exported overseas. The application requires payment of a fee, the supply of supporting documentation, and may take up to two months to be approved. Additionally, each country has different requirements with many requiring the issue of an import permit and some requiring clearance by Australian Customs. Failure to arrange the appropriate export and imports prior to the coral leaving Australia may result in seizure of the specimens and possible prosecution.

Please encourage your international clients to only purchase coral that can be carried in their luggage, accompanied by a CITES Personal Baggage Permit. We can usually supply the correct permit within two days. These permits are government-issued original documents that cannot be faxed.

The entry of coral into a country is a decision of that country’s government and beyond the control of Marine Arts and our distributors. It is the responsibility of the importer / exporter / traveller to ensure they comply with current international CITES legislation and to avoid seizure of the coral by ensuring that the necessary export and import permits and other documentary requirements are arranged prior to shipment.

 

TYPES OF PERMITS FOR CORAL EXPORT

Listed below are the various CITES permits that may be obtained.

 

  • Australian Personal Baggage Permits for coral carried overseas in luggage

CITES Personal Baggage Permits, valid for six months from date of sale, are available from Marine Arts for clients selling coral to international travellers who wish to take coral in their luggage. We highly recommend this as the simplest way to comply with international CITES legislation.

Specific requirements are:

  1. Coral must be for non-commercial use.
  2. The coral can only be carried in accompanied luggage. The permit may not be used to post or freight coral.
  3. A maximum of four permits per person may be issued.
  4. Each permit is valid for ONE piece or pack of coral only.
  5. Multiple pieces or packs require multiple permits.
  6. The species of coral to be exported must be accurately identified and the correct permit must be used. Do not substitute.
  7. These permits are official government documents. Photocopies or faxes are not valid permits.
  8. Front page – complete the date of issue. Permit is valid for 6 months from this date.
  9. Back page – complete the exporter's name and address and destination country. The exporter is the person traveling with the coral.

 

  • Australian Export permit for coral freighted or posted overseas

Coral that is to be shipped or freighted overseas is required to have a CITES Export Permit prior to the coral leaving Australia. In Australia, application for an export permit may be made to the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, providing proof of purchase and species detail. 

In some instances, Marine Arts may be able to assist with the supply of an Australian CITES Export Permit.

 

  • International Import permit for coral freighted or posted overseas

CITES Import Permits are usually required by countries that are signatories to CITES. This includes most destinations. It is the purchaser’s responsibility to ensure compliance with the import provisions of the destination country.

Currently New Zealand accepts an Australian CITES Export Permit and does not require a New Zealand CITES Import Permit.

 

 European countries, the United Kingdom and Japan require the importer to apply for an import permit which must be issued prior to the goods leaving Australia. The requirements of the United States are complex, including the need for exporters to obtain Australian Customs Certification prior to export.