Members of the public are advised that the buying and selling of coral in Barbados is illegal under the Coastal Zone Management Act.

Marine Biologist at the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Angelique Brathwaite, is reminding persons that they can be prosecuted for buying and selling coral.

Speaking during an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, Ms. Brathwaite said: ???We need them in the ocean where they belong. We can???t sell them as ornaments because it is just not sustainable.???

Ms. Brathwaite explained that corals were protected under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), thereby making their sale illegal not just in Barbados, but also internationally.

???So even if a tourist comes here and buys a piece of coral and we don???t catch them, trying to get it back into their country will be difficult,??? the Marine Biologist pointed out, adding that Europe and the United States were tough on persons attempting to import coral.

Coral organisms, called polyps, are tiny, soft-bodied organisms related to sea anemones and jellyfish. At their base is a hard, protective limestone skeleton called a calicle, which forms the structure of coral reefs.

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