Carib Sea fined for illegal CITES imports
Marine aquarium product manufacturer Carib Sea Inc has been fined $25,000 each (about 13,110) for illegally importing "coral rock" from Haiti.
According to a report from the Palm Beach Post, Carib Sea Inc. and its president Richard Greenfield, both pleaded guilty at a federal court in Miami to a charge of importing more than 19 tonnes of "coral rock" - dead live rock - without a CITES permit.
Betsey Moore, the vice president of Carib Sea said that the rock was mined from land, not from the ocean, and was intended for sale as aquarium decor.
The report claims that Moore said the company was "ecologically minded" and that it made a mistake by not acquiring the correct permit to import the materials."This has been a very expensive mistake for us..."Moore was reported as saying: "I want to stress this was coral rock and not coral. There's a huge difference. It's perfectly legal with a simple permit, which we've obtained since. This was a very expensive mistake for us. We've been in business for 35 years and have no other marks on our record."
Carib Sea Inc and its president were sentenced to three years probation and the company must pay $25,000 to help support a coral nursery programme in Biscayne National Park. Richard Greenfield, the company's president, was also issued with a $25,000 fine.
Carib Sea Inc has also been ordered to publish notices in three aquarium publications explaining how it violated the requirements of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the report claims.