Walt Smith International Resumes Coral Exports from Fiji: A Promising Comeback

Written by: Cy Forell


Fiji Coral Exports Resume

The delicate dance of conservation and commerce in the world's oceans often finds itself in a precarious balance. In recent news, a significant development has emerged, igniting hope among marine aquarium enthusiasts and environmentalists alike. After a six year suspension, Walt Smith International, a prominent player in the coral industry, has been granted permission to resume Fijian coral exports in February of 2024.

Fiji Coral Export
Fiji Acropora In Our Store
Fiji Birdsnest
Fiji Birdsnest Seriatopora

The History of Fiji Coral Exports

For those unfamiliar, Walt Smith International has long been recognized for its commitment to sustainable practices in the harvesting and cultivation of coral. With operations based in Fiji, the company has played a pivotal role in supplying ornamental coral, and fish, to aquariums and hobbyists worldwide, while advocating for the preservation of Fiji's rich marine ecosystems. Fijian Acropora and Yellow Leather Corals have been highly sought after since WSI began exporting from Fiji, at the invitation of the Fijian government, in 1995. Walt Smith International enjoyed two decades of successful coral farming, reef restoration, and sustainable Fijian coral exports.

In a surprise move, Fiji’s Ministry of Fisheries and Forests issued a surprise and immediate ban on the export of coral and live rock on December 28, 2017. Fiji's Fisheries lifted the ban in January of 2018, but the leadership of the Ministry of Waterways and Environment refused to issue the CITES permits needed to resume Fiji coral exports.

Green Fiji Acropora
Purple Fiji Acropora

Continued Collarboration Leads to the Resumption of Fijian Coral Exports

The decision to allow Walt Smith International to export Fiji coral once again comes after a period of scrutiny and evaluation. However, prior to, and amidst these concerns, Walt Smith International demonstrated its unwavering commitment to sustainability. Through his non-profit, Aquaculture Development for the Environment Project (A.D.E.), Walt Smith actively engaged in conservation efforts, including coral reef rehabilitation and the establishment of marine protected areas. Through partnerships with local communities and marine biologists, Walt Smith International pioneered innovative techniques for coral propagation and restoration, bolstering Fiji's resilience against environmental threats.

The decision to lift the export ban reflects a recognition of Walt Smith International's exemplary track record in sustainable coral harvesting and its positive contributions to Fiji's economy and marine conservation efforts. By reinstating the company's ability to export coral, Fijian authorities have signaled their confidence in Walt Smith International's ability to uphold the highest standards of environmental stewardship.

This development is not only a victory for Walt Smith International but also a testament to the power of collaboration between industry stakeholders, government agencies, and conservation organizations. It exemplifies a balanced approach to environmental management—one that acknowledges the value of responsible commerce while prioritizing the protection of fragile ecosystems.

As coral reefs face unprecedented threats from climate change, pollution, and over-exploitation, the need for sustainable practices in the coral trade has never been more pressing. The decision to allow Walt Smith International to resume coral exports serves as a beacon of hope for the future of coral reef conservation. It underscores the potential for responsible business practices to drive positive change and promote the preservation of our planet's most precious marine ecosystems.

Moving forward, it is imperative that we continue to support initiatives that prioritize sustainability and conservation in the coral trade. By working together, we can ensure that future generations will continue to marvel at the beauty and diversity of coral reefs, both in Fiji and around the world.

Purple Acropora humilis
Green Fiji Acropora humilis
Fiji Yellow Leather
Fiji Lobophyllia Coral
Fiji Acropora tenuis Coral
Fiji Lobophytum Coral
Fiji Platygyra Maze Brain Coral
Fijian Acropora Coral
Fiji Purple Acropora Coral

Barrier Reef is Thrilled to See the Return of Fiji Coral Exports

We learned of the possibility that WSI was going to be able to export Fiji's beautiful corals again through CORAL—THE REEF & MARINE AQUARIUM MAGAZINE. In late January of 2024, we received an email from one of our fish wholesalers that confirmed the first shipment to the USA was booked. After a one week delay due to weather, we received our first shipment of Fiji coral. We have since received a second shipment! Follow along as we document the resumption of Fiji coral exports.