News & updates

PROPOSAL No. 21 Inclusion of the family Coralliidae in Appendix II – Ten reasons to reject the proposal

By Marco Pani-IWMC

For the second consecutive time a proposal to list in Appendix II of CITES the species of genera Corallium and Paracorallium, included in the family Coralliidae, is submitted to the Conference of the Parties to CITES.

This time also the proposal is mainly an anecdotic summary without real scientific evidence that these species are threatened with extinction by international trade.

FAO, which is requested by the text of the CITES Convention to evaluate the proposals concerning marine species, concluded again that these species are not meeting the listing criteria and IUCN, a leading conservation organization, reached the same conclusion in its analysis.

This is not surprising for people familiar with the biology of and trade in these species because, despite a long history of exploitation, they are still very common in their range, both in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Pacific Ocean.

As a matter of fact and without taking into account scientific evidences the proposal arose from some NGOs, which started campaigns some years ago against the use of these precious corals with the essential aim to raise money for their own interest rather than the interests of the conservation of the species. Interestingly, the main donor of these NGOs is a renowned jewellery company that seems to be contributing to a large extent to the devastation of the sea bottom in west and southern Africa trough underwater dredging for diamonds.

It is our views that under no circumstances could or should CITES replace a sound management regime for fisheries. Control of international trade, as CITES implies, must not be considered as more than an additional measure that could be valid in specific conditions. CITES will not correct bad fisheries management. Conversely, good fisheries management does not need, in most cases, trade controls as those provided by CITES.

One of the main misconceptions that people has is that CITES is a management tool for species. This is wrong. CITES is a trade regulating treaty that imposes specific prescriptions on the trade.

The best solution to achieve proper conservation of precious corals and the continuation of their sustainable trade should be the improvement of local management regimes and associated legislations and not the imposition of trade regulations that would be counterproductive.

View PDF in English.

View PDF in French.

View PDF in Spanish.

Related content

Fisheries are choking on good(?) intentions

Author Nils Stolpe/FishNet USA Choking On Good Intentions In multispecies fisheries, regulators must distinguish between stocks that are truly threatened or endangered and those that

Fisheries overview


From the very beginnings of man kind, the world’s oceans and waterways have provided essential sustenance that has supported the development of life. The consumption

IWMC Feature

Conservation Influencers

Conservation Influencers is a searchable directory of the animal activist, environmental and ecological lobby. It examines the history, mission, methodology and reputation of NGOs to assess their impact on the global conservation cause.

Wildlife Conservation Society

In 1906, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) put an African man on display in Bronx Zoo’s Monkey House. In 1918, one of WCS’s founding fathers, Madison Grant, published Passing of the Great Race, which Adolf Hitler referred to as his ‘Bible’. Another leading creator and early leader of WCS, Henry Fairfield Osborn Sr, was also a founder of the American Eugenics Society. His son headed WCS from 1940 to 1968, overseeing a series of major initiatives in Africa. There, WCS became one of the architects of the prohibition movement, which put wildlife for consumptive use and vast regions of land out of bounds to humanity. In 2020, WCS distanced itself in public from the racist views of Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn Sr. But it has yet to issue a critical account of the legacy of Fairfield Osborn Jr, even though he led WCS into the modern era while sharing similar politically-inspired ecological goals to his father and Grant. WCS devotes considerable financial resources to influencing outcomes at CITES. WCS’s CEO reportedly earns USD$1,320,978.