Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Using CORAL! my pet peeve

its the use of coral.... I love it...can't get enough of it!
But I can't use it anymore.
Lately on Etsy there are loads of women making jewelry with coral and they are saying things like:
"this is made from fast growing non-endangered coral....This is bamboo coral which is not endangered" etc....

They're full of crap.

I have searched all over the internet to try to find a "fast growing coral"
can't find one.
Maybe bamboo coral is faster than others...I dunno...most of the things I read say that it take hundreds of years for layers to build in reefs. So if fishing methods destroy reefs... how can we use coral for adornment and not feel we are contributing in some way to the impact!?
I read this on MSNBC this morning:
"BANGKOK, Thailand - Coral reefs in much of the Pacific Ocean are dying faster than previously thought, according to a study released Wednesday, with the decline driven by climate change, disease and coastal development.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill found that coral coverage in the Indo-Pacific — an area stretching from Indonesia’s Sumatra island to French Polynesia — dropped 20 percent in the past two decades.
About 600 square miles of reefs have disappeared since the 1960s, the study found, and the losses were just as bad in Australia’s well-protected Great Barrier Reef as they were in poorly managed marine reserves in the Philippines.
“We found the loss of reef building corals was much more widespread and severe than previously thought,” said John Bruno, who conducted the study along with Elizabeth Selig. “Even the best managed reefs in the Indo-Pacific suffered significant coral loss over the past 20 years.”
The study, which examined 6,000 surveys of more than 2,600 Indo-Pacific coral reefs done between 1968 and 2004, found the declines began earlier than previously estimated and mirror global trends. The United Nations has found close to a third of the world’s corals have disappeared, and 60 percent are expected to be lost by 2030.
The Indo-Pacific contains 75 percent of the world’s coral reefs and provide a home for a wide range of marine plants and animals. They provide shelter for island communities and are key source of income, mostly from the benefits of fishing and tourism. “Indo-Pacific reefs have played an important economic and cultural role in the region for hundreds of years and their continued decline could mean the loss of millions of dollars in fisheries and tourism,” Selig said in a statement. “It’s like when everything in the forest is gone except for little twigs.”
Predators, disease are also blamed. While the study didn’t examine the cause of the decline, Bruno said he believed it was driven by a range of factors including warming waters due to climate change. He also blamed storm damage, runoff from agriculture and industry, predators like fast-spreading crown-of-thorn starfish and diseases like White syndrome.
Bruno said the study demonstrated the need to better manage reefs and prevent threats such as overfishing, but acknowledged local measures would have little impact without a reduction of greenhouse gases.
“It is just one more example of the striking, far reaching effects of climate change and our behavior,” Bruno said of the link between climate change and reef destruction. “It is the folks in North Carolina driving their SUVs. It is their behavior that is having an effect way out in the Indo-Pacific.” Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Center for Marine Studies at The University of Queensland in Australia, said the study should put to rest any suggestion that reefs like the Great Barrier Reef are untouched by “human pressures.” “This is a solid study that produces mounds of evidence that suggests reefs are changing counter to the untested and ungrounded claims that it isn’t happening,” Hoegh-Guldberg, who was not involved in the study, said in an e-mail interview.”

So if we don't change our behavior???? what then? I love coral! I don't want to quit using it...but I think I have to.


Liz said...

Hi Melissa, and thank you for taking the time to think about these connections and realizing how our choices are tied into the fate of corals and coral reefs!

If you want more information about corals used in jewelry, and what we can do about it, you can visit

Jane said...

It's going to take awhile, but when we stop buying coral, they'll stop harvesting it, so thanks for reminding everybody about this very important truth, Melissa! Ditto for home aquarists, who are always being told they are buying "safe" coral for their reef tanks. There are corals that are grown in captivity, but most start as wild-harvested, and even farm grown coral takes a looong time to grow, which makes it very expensive for the producers, and there's no way for the purchaser to really know where it came from. Spread the word, and don't buy coral.

Melissa Manley said...

Thanks Jane,
It is sad, I want to buy and use it. I just saw some gorgeous, pale blue dyed, little coral chunk beads the other day. They were stunning and fairly cheap. I just walked away. I wanted them desperately, but I know the real price some reef paid for those beads. It's a hard love to give up, but I hope I set an example and open some eyes.