MAC Speaker Topic - Steve Tyree
SPS Corals in Captivity - History of the First 20 Years
(1992-2012)

This presentation covers the history and controversy of maintaining small polyped stony corals (SPS) in captive systems. The time period begins when the first SPS colonies were successfully imported into the US. Steve Tyree was perhaps the first hobbyist in the US to purchase an Acropora colony from a retail store. That all occurred because of a bet between an Indonesian Exporter and an American Importing relative. Since that initial bet, the number of SPS colonies successfully exported from the Info Pacific is staggering. While the costs to the natural environment have been high, the monetary inflow into these impoversed third world nations has been substantial. Steve was the number one Acropora transhipper into the US from 1996 to 1997, but eventually a virulent RTN coral virus imported with coral, forced Steve to make a switch. He began emphasizing and supporting the propagation of cloned SPS coral fragments from existing colonies already in captivity.

Around the year 2000, Steve began featuring or highlighting Limited Edition or rare captively propagated corals that had interesting histories and exotic qualities. This also helped to raise the value or perceived desirability of these highlighted corals. He had assumed that eventually governments would cut off or severely limit coral exportation as stress factors in their natural habitats increased. Although the captive market for SPS corals has had its up and downs, Steve now organizes and hosts coral shows across the US where SPS corals are an important aspect. The promotional practices developed for these corals has also been successfully employed in the soft coral and LPS markets.

Steve is perhaps uniquely qualified to discuss the first 20 year history of the importation and propagation of SPS corals. Also referred to as Reef Building Stony Corals. So learn how we progressed from a period when it was impossible to keep Acropora, to the year 2012 where small captively propagated frags would begin to sell for well over $100.


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