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From USA Today:
Coral were the latest species taken up at the on-going meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Doha, Qatar. The proposal to protect 31 species of red and pink coral, first discussed during the previous CITES conference over two years ago, was voted down Sunday. A proposal to protect Bluefin tuna was voted down Thursday.
Coral are harvested for jewelry and souvenirs. The catch of red and pink coral has dropped by more than 80% in the last 50 years, according to Oceana, an ocean conservation organization.
"Vanity has once again trumped conservation. Today is yet another example of CITES failing to protect endangered marine species," said Ocean's David Allison.
SeaWeb, a group that's working to protect the coral, is urging consumers to avoid buying items made from the endangered corals through its Too Precious to Wear campaign.From the e-letter from Too Precious To Wear:
Representatives from 175 countries are at the CITES meeting in Doha from March 13 to 25.
The vote would have put the 31 coral species on CITES Appendix II. Such a listing would require the use of export permits to ensure that the species were caught by a legal and sustainably managed fishery.
Coral are long-lived, some reaching more than 100 years of age, and grow less than one millimeter per year. Coral colonies are fragile and easily vulnerable to destruction.
But the fight for meaningful coral conservation is not over. Now more than ever, red and pink corals need the support of conscientious consumers like you. Refusing to purchase any items made from red and pink coral is key, as there is no guarantee that these species are being sustainably used or well-managed. We continue to receive the support of high-profile jewelers and designers who have pledged never to use real coral and are raising awareness of this important issue. Designers who have recently joined our efforts include Dana Lorenz of Fenton/Fallon, Ileana Makri, Irene Neuwirth, Kara Ross, Nak Armstrong of Anthony Nak and Robin Renzi of Me&Ro. To find out how you can also be a conserver of coral, contact Jackie Marks.
As always, thanks for your continued support. If you haven't already, sign our pledge supporting greater protection for corals worldwide, and strengthen your voice by forwarding on this e-mail and asking your friends to sign our coral pledge. For more regular news and updates from the Too Precious To Wear team, be sure to follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook group.
SeaWeb's Too Precious To Wear team