Precious corals have recently been added to Category I protected species in China as part of the update of the country’s protected species list. All species of stony coral have been added to Category II.
A report of an arrest for keeping and selling unspecified species of stony corals has recently appeared in Chinese media.
News website www.taihainet.com (based in the coastal Fujian Province), reports that the police arrested a seller of live corals in Hanjiang Township of Shishi City in Quanzhou Municipality, Fujian Province. The report dates from March 19th, 2021.
The report explains that, in 2019, the suspect purchased 60 pieces of live coral that he then sold, earning a profit of over 30,000 yuan. The source of coral is not clear, reported only as “not local”.
It is unclear what coral species the suspect was in possession of. The report refers to them as shi shan hu – stony coral. The image included in the report appears to show Acropora, also known as staghorn coral, that is also commonly called shi shan hu.
Because corals now belong to nationally protected species, the suspect, who had seven large aquaria to grow coral, was immediately taken into custody and is now facing criminal charges.
The news report concludes: “The police want to make a reminder – corals, although extremely beautiful, cannot be bought freely. Corals are endangered animals, and their harvesting and sale do not only damage the marine ecosystems and the environment where people live, but also break the law. Amateur coral hobbyists are not allowed to keep Category I listed species, and, if keeping Category II listed species, must have a permit to do so issued by the Fisheries Bureau of the province, autonomous region, or self-governing city.”