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Document Abstract
Published: 2001

Collection of coral reef fish for aquaria: global trade, conservation issues and management strategies

How can we manage the damaging impacts of the marine aquarium trade?
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The ornamental fish trade is a multi-million dollar industry, with fisheries operating all around the tropical world. Currently about 45 countries supply the market. The most important suppliers are Indonesia and the Philippines, with Brazil, Maldives, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Hawaii also supplying significant quantities.

The author states that despite the potential of marine aquaria to inform people about biodiversity, collection rates and methods are cause for concern. Destructive methods of collection, including the use of cyanide, capture of species with low survival rates, high post-harvesting mortalities and the potential for over-exploitation are the most pressing concerns.

Although some countries have management policies in place, many do not and others are poorly enforced. The paper therefore makes a number of recommendations, including the following:

  • collection and analysis of comprehensive and accurate data on collections, exports and imports, including the introduction of a log book scheme
  • research to establish realistic quotas
  • no-take zones
  • a species focus where they are endangered
  • mariculture to relieve pressure on wild stocks
  • greater education and public awareness of the trade.
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E. Wood

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