A statement just released by the Fiji Ministry of Fisheries and Forests is aiming to completely halt the aquarium business in the country, effective immediately! This is very bizarre as for one thing, Fiji has been a model of sustainable aquarium fish & coral harvesting around the world for nearly two decades.
Furthermore, there has been no ‘discussion’ about this legal move, nor have any of the stakeholders been contacted about the proposed law change. This statement is unusual in its scope and immediacy, but so far only comes from the office of Fiji Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, and has so far not been corroborated by other branches of the country’s government.
The aquarium industry in Fiji supports hundreds of jobs and it’s very peculiar that a single branch of the government would make such a unilateral closure to a very sustainable industry without public input. The Fiji Ministry of Fisheries does mention that it wants to support farmed and cultured corals as an alternative but it’s stated in such a way as if they don’t realize that Fiji already cultures lots of corals, with sustainable projects already being supported by American reef aquarium communities.
Hopefully this is just a misunderstanding and we’ll be keeping you up to date on this story as it develops. Full statement is posted below:
The Ministry of Fisheries has banned all harvesting, purchasing, sales and export of live coral and aquarium rock (also known as live rock, coral rock or fossil coral) from the 28th of December, 2017.
All companies are to adhere to the following:
1. All harvesting, purchasing and sales of live rocks and live coral are now banned, and no export permits would be processed by the ministry.
2. The Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Scientific Committee (SC) will be submitting to the Management Authority (MA) on 7th January 2018 that Live Coral and Live Rock is given a zero quota for 2018.
3. The Ministry of Fisheries and both the CITES MA and SC would be supporting the development of other sustainable options, particularly the development of farmed or cultured coral.