Precious coral exploitation

Georgios Tsounis, Sergio Rossi, Richard Grigg, Giovanni Santangelo, Lorenzo Bramanti, Josep Maria Gili

Research output: Chapter in BookChapterResearchpeer-review


Precious corals have been commercially exploited for many centuries all over the world. Their skeletons have been used as amulets or jewelry since antiquity, and are one of the most valuable living marine resources. Precious coral fishery is generally characterized by the "boom and bust" principle. Virtually all known stocks are overexploited. Their short larval dispersion distance and low growth rates make specific overexploited populations vulnerable to local extinction. Precious corals are important structure-forming organisms, so-called ecosystem engineers, that provide shelter for other organisms and increase biodiversity. This review compares the ecology of precious corals, as well as the socioeconomy of their fishery, and evaluates various management models that may improve precious coral management and conservation. The present studies show that a paradigm shift is needed in precious coral exploitation, not only to conserve habitats of high biodiversity, but also to achieve sustainable fisheries and stabilize a traditional jewelry industry. Furthermore, gaps in knowledge are identified and the need for further research is highlighted. © 2010 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCoral Reefs: Biology, Threats and Restoration
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011


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