BALTIMORE - A shipment of illegally imported corals intercepted by Customs and Border Protection is being used as a teaching tool at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
The shipment, containing 20 pieces of Seriatopora hystrix (or “birds nest coral”) and 22 pieces of Pocillopora damicornis, was intercepted by CBP at the port of Tampa, Fla. The corals were cut from the reefs off the coast of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.
The corals are being used in the new Blacktip Reef exhibit as well as for the Aquariums’ conservation outreach efforts and school science programs.
Coral reefs are being threatened by human and environmental factors. Most species of coral are protected under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and require foreign CITES permits. This international agreement between governments ensures that international trade of wild animals does not threaten their survival. CITES is comprised of 178 country signatories that protect species like coral worldwide.
Corals play a critical role in the ecosystem as they provide nursing habitats for marine species, protect against shoreline erosion and provide local benefits for fishing and tourism industries.
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