Associations

Individuals involved in the marine ornamental industry often join forces and form associations or syndicates. Examples include AKKII, PTFEA, the Singapore Aquarium Fish Exporters' Association (SAFEA), OFI, OATA and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC). The last is the world's largest pet trade association, representing all segments of the pet industry including retailers, wholesalers distributors, companion animal suppliers, manufacturers, manufacturers' representatives, hobbyist...

At Destination

At the receiving end, importers must clear the shipment with customs and the consignment undergoes another veterinary check. However, criticism has been expressed towards the latter as there is a general lack of veterinary control and individuals performing the checks are often not qualified to examine fish. The importer then transfers the shipment to a wholesale facility and the boxes are opened under dimly lit conditions to minimize stress to the fish. Individuals are quarantined in order to...

Conservati efforts

Marine ornamental fisheries need to be managed in such a way that they are biologically sustainable, do not conflict with other resource uses and keep post-harvest mortalities to a minimum. Biologically sustainable means that harvested species need to be replenished in their natural habitat at the same or a greater rate than they are collected6. At the same time, it is important to ensure that habitat damage as well as impacts to other species are minimized. Fisheries must also check that...

Introduction

Although reefs cover less than one quarter of 1 per cent of the marine environment, they are considered to be amongst the most biologically rich and productive ecosystems on Earth, often described as the 'rainforest of the seas'1,2. Coral reefs support over 4,000 species of fish (or a third of the world's marine fish species), about 800 species of reef-building corals3, and a great number of other invertebrates and sponges. Coral reefs provide millions of people with benefits, both direct and...

Limited access to the fishery

A licensing system, such as the one operating in Australia, the Cook Islands, Palau and a number of other Pacific Island countries, whereby collection effort is regulated through a limited number of permits being issued each year, offers a good way of monitoring the industry6. In addition, Australia has introduced restrictions on net size to ensure a limited number of permits is not offset by greater fishing effort6. The number of permits to be issued should be based on scientific studies...

Management Initiatives For The Trade

Marine ornamental fisheries, if managed sustainably and integrated with other resource uses, have the potential to provide many people in source countries with a stable source of income and thus a livelihood. Countries like the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have no specific management plans for the ornamental marine industry221. On the other hand countries such as Fiji, Palau and Australia have policies regulating collection of reef organisms6. Unfortunately, these often exist only on paper, are...

Marine reserves

A potential solution to the localized depletion and habitat degradation that may result from extensive and unmonitored collection of marine ornamentals is the creation of marine reserves, areas where fishing is prohibited or controlled. Marine reserves have often been recommended, and suggested as useful tools in managing marine fisheries (usually food fisheries), for they have been shown to increase fish abundance and protect ecosystems from habitat destruction due to fishing . Hence, they...

Postharvesting Mortality

There are many factors that lead to post-harvesting mortality, such as physical damage and use of chemicals during collection, poor handling practice and disease. Even when collected in an environmentally sound manner, aquarium organisms often suffer from poor handling and transport practices resulting in stress and poor health of marine individuals30. Accurate figures of post-harvesting mortality are not available due to the sensitivity of such Bagging specimens for the ornamental trade....

Quotas

Limiting the number of fish being exported from any source country is another way of reducing or limiting collecting pressure. Quotas are only likely to be effective if based on rigorous scientific research and implemented at a species-specific level6. Although relatively simple and easily enforced, general quotas are not advisable as they may simply encourage collectors to focus collection on the most valuable species, hence not ensuring protection of stocks overall and least so of vulnerable...

Sources of trade data

Unknown species of echinoderm (sea star) in an aquarium. Unknown species of echinoderm (sea star) in an aquarium. All species of giant clams and stony coral are listed in Appendix II of CITES, an international agree-_ ment that protects wildlife by ensuring that international trade is based on sustainable use and does not threaten the survival of a species in the wild. The treaty, established in 1973 and which entered into force in 1975, currently has 162 Member Parties. Species listed in...

Stony corals

According to CITES data, the global live coral trade rose steadily from 1997 to 1999 with 934,463 live pieces and 1,142,242 live pieces being traded worldwide respectively in those years. The trade decreased to 942,661 pieces in 2001. Since the late 1980s, Indonesia has become the largest coral exporting cou ntry32. CITES figu res show that direct exports of live wild-sourced coral from Indonesia represented 78 per cent (729,703 pieces) of the global total for all coral species in 1997, 66 per...

User Conflict

One of the most vocal complaints against the aquarium trade has been that it reduces fish populations in areas where tourism is thriving and constitutes an important source of revenue. This has been an issue of particular concern in Australia and Hawaii30 and more recently in Fiji35. In popular Australian tourist areas such as Cairns, Moreton Bay and Whitsunday tourists and recreational divers often interact with fish and coral collectors41. After a study was carried out in Hawaii showing a...

Sexselective fisheries

Males of many coral reef fish species tend to be preferred due to their distinctive coloration. Male mandarinfish, Synchiropussplendidus, for example, bear attractive dorsal fins and displays170. Male wrasses, such as the bird wrasse Gomphosus varius, and the sapphire devil Chrysiptera cyanea, are also often preferred to plain-looking females37. Such brightly coloured specimens are also likely to fetch higher prices on the market. Selectively harvesting for males of particular populations on a...

The SMART project

The South Pacific Forum Secretariat, together with the Marine Aquarium Council, has started a programme to implement marine ornamentals certification within the South Pacific Region. It will focus primarily on the islands of Fiji, the Cook Islands and the Solomon Islands and will address the negative impacts the ornamentals industry presently has or may have. It will also introduce market-driven third-party certification for established operators to ensure sustainable development of the...

Invasive Species

The introduction of aquarium fish species to areas where they do not occur naturally is a problem more acute for freshwater species than for marine species. Reports have indicated that a number of individuals of the species Pterois volitans, lionfish (marine fish native to the Indo-Pacific region), have been observed on four wrecks and one natural hard bottom off the coast of North Carolina at depth ranges between 40 and 45 m during 2000 and Some individuals were also observed off the include...

Corals

Mariculture can be an environmentally sound way to increase the supply of hard and soft corals, and has proved successful for a large number of species. In light Finger leather cabbage coral, Lobophytum spp. Finger leather cabbage coral, Lobophytum spp. of this, coral aquaculture is increasingly mentioned as a priority solution for reducing the harvest pressures on coral reefs190. An additional advantage is that cultured coral is acknowledged as adapting better to aquarium conditions than...

Table 6 The top ten species of ornamental fish imported into the United States

Totals for number of fish are derived from importers' and exporters' data in GMAD for years 1997 to 2002. Species common to both datasets are in bold. The threespot dascyllus, Dascyiius trimaculatus. The threespot dascyllus, Dascyiius trimaculatus. EC Annex D data show that 106,662 seahorses were reported as imported into the EU between 1997 and 2001. GMAD data for this period show a total of 20,477 seahorses reported as imported into EU countries (or 24,647 specimens between 1996 and 2002)....

Impacts On Populations

Most traders argue that the collection of marine ornamentals for the aquarium trade has no negative impact on reef fish populations. This is likely to be true for fisheries that are fairly small in comparison to the available resource base (fish population). A study in the Cook Islands showed that the total catch per unit effort remained constant between 1990 and 1994114, an indicator that fish populations on these islands were probably being harvested sustainably. In Australia, through the use...

Life histories

While a huge diversity of species is demanded for the aquarium trade, a large part of the trade tends to be centred on individual species. These species' vulnerability to collection will depend on a number of life history parameters, in particular growth, reproduction and recruitment54. Overall, there is very little information available on the life history characteristics, growth rate or reproduction mode of most coral genera in trade. Environmental conditions influencing individual corals...

Size limits

Size limits are another useful tool in managing aquarium fisheries. The marine ornamental fish trade tends to be highly selective in favour of juveniles due to their distinctive coloration, low transport cost for exporters and optimal size to fit in a home aquarium. However, the young of some popular fish species are easily stressed and hence may suffer high mortality during holding and transport6. Setting minimum size limits such as those encouraged by an Ocean Voice International-Haribon...

Live rock

Tectus Spp Turbo Spp

CITES defines live rock as 'pieces of coral rock to which are attached live specimens of invertebrate species and coralline algae not included in the CITES Appendices and which are transported moist, but not in water, in crates71. Typical inhabitants of live rock are anemones, tunicates, bryozoa, octocorals, sponges, echinoids, molluscs, sabellarid and serpulid tubeworms, and calcareous algae. Besides the aesthetic role live rock plays in aquaria, the organisms which live in live rock, through...

Giant clams

Giant clams represent an increasingly large proportion of the exports of live invertebrates destined as aquarium specimens. Although additional lighting is often required in order to maintain giant clams, they play an important role in removing nitrates, nitrites and ammonia from aquaria water, elements considered as The most commonly imported sea star in the aquarium trade is Linckia laevigata. According to exporters' data within GMAD this species accounted for 3 per cent 32,509 pieces of the...

Executive summary

Species Surgeonfish Asia

Between 1.5 and 2 million people worldwide are believed to keep marine aquaria. The trade which supplies this hobby with live marine animals is a global multi-million dollar industry, worth an estimated US 200-330 million annually, and operating throughout the tropics. Ornamental marine species corals, other invertebrates and fish are collected and transported mainly from Southeast Asia, but also increasingly from several island nations in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, to consumers in the main...

Figure 5 Top three importers of live and wildsourced clams

Totals are derived from importers' data. Several source countries have also implemented legislation to better manage and protect their giant clam stocks. In 1996, the Philippines, previously dominating exports for the international shell trade and one of the main suppliers of live clams for the international aquarium trade, adopted a total prohibition on all exports of giant clam82. The Solomon Islands reported that only exports of cultured giant clams were allowed, while with help from the...

Table 7 The top ten most commonly traded genera of corals worldwide

Totals for number of pieces are derived from importers' and exporters' data in GMAD for years 1988 to 2002 and 1998 to 2003 respectively. Genera common to both datasets are in bold. Totals for number of pieces are derived from importers' and exporters' data in GMAD for years 1988 to 2002 and 1998 to 2003 respectively. Genera common to both datasets are in bold. levels are sustainable and to agree a system under which export statistics reflect true imports. A recent audit at one of the largest...

Figure 4 Major exporters of live and wildsourced clams

Totals are derived from importers' data as Viet Nam, Philippines, Fiji and Vanuatu report on the basis of permits issued and not on actual trade, and not all exporters are Party to CITES. Philippines Fiji Vanuatu Tonga Marshall Is. Viet Nam Philippines Fiji Vanuatu Tonga Marshall Is. Viet Nam

Soft corals and sea fans

Broccoli Coral

Most of the soft corals in trade originate from the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Although soft coral farming is considered to be simple and straightforward70, very few specimens are of cultured origin. American Samoa represents an exception52. Despite high numbers of specimens being traded for use in aquaria, soft corals are not, unlike stony corals, covered under CITES54. No mechanisms other than GMAD exist to monitor quantity, origin and destination of species in trade. GMAD data indicate that a total...

The mandarinfish Synchiropus splendidus

Extremely limited scientific information, particularly on its biology and fishery, is available for the small, benthic dragonet of the Western Pacific. All individuals traded for the aquarium industry are taken from the wild and the impact of heavy collection 21,458 individuals based on importers' data or 11,168 individuals based on exporters' data in GMAD, traded within the EU only on fish populations is unknown. It is subject to a sex-selective fishery up to 70 per cent of fish caught are...

Analysis of trade data

The following section will describe analyses of CITES data for trade in stony corals and giant clams, Annex D data for seahorses and GMAD data for fish, corals and invertebrates. Based on sales data supplied by the 58 companies in GMAD and applying the method described in Green8 the best estimate of annual global trade is between 20 million and 24 million for marine ornamental fish, 11-12 million for corals and 910 million for marine ornamental invertebrates. Records within GMAD for marine...

The scribbled angelfish Chaetodontoplus duboulayi

Anecdotal information has suggested that some populations of the scribbled angelfish Chaetodontoplus duboulayi, pictured may be depleted. Although this information has not as yet been validated by scientific surveys, local fishers in Queensland, Australia, have observed significant fluctuations in population densities over the years and thus have raised concerns. Population estimates between the Keppel Island group and the southern extent of the species in Hervey Bay, Australia, show lower...

Table 8 The top ten species of corals imported into the United States the EU and Japan

Totals for number of pieces are derived from importers' data in CITES for years 1997 to 2001. Japan's data are based on exporters' reports for 1997 and years 1999-2001, as Japan's Annual Reports for 1999-2001 are not available and they did not report any coral imports for 1997. Totals for number of pieces are derived from importers' data in CITES for years 1997 to 2001. Japan's data are based on exporters' reports for 1997 and years 1999-2001, as Japan's Annual Reports for 1999-2001 are not...

Transhipping

Transhippers Fish

Transhipping is an activity that emerged during the 1970s and 1980s. It involves grouping the orders of several retailers and or wholesalers and placing them with an exporter, collecting the shipment at the airport, clearing customs and redistributing the boxes without opening Divers' breathing equipment hookahs on deck. Divers' breathing equipment hookahs on deck. them . The responsibility for the entire shipment falls onto the retailer. All transhippers require to operate is a telephone, fax...

Table 4 The ten most traded species of ornamental fish worldwide

Totals for number of fish are derived from exporters' and importers' data in GMAD for years 1997 to 2002. Species common to both datasets are in bold. Table 5 The top ten species of ornamental fish imported into the EU Table 5 The top ten species of ornamental fish imported into the EU Totals for number of fish are calculated from exporters' and importers' data in GMAD for years 1997 to 2002. Species common to both datasets are in bold. For the years 1997-2002, Amphiprion ocellaris, Chromis...

Invertebrates

Since technical constraints regarding the spawning of mature giant clams and raising of larvae and juveniles were overcome in the 1980s, interest in giant clam culture and population management has increased considerably84. Giant clam mariculture has several advantages the animals require no artificial feeding, rearing techniques are relatively simple and the setting up of facilities requires little capital investment and can involve local community members. Furthermore, unlike many other forms...

The Global Marine Aquarium Database Gmad

All Invertebrates

Since April 2000, UNEP-WCMC and MAC have been collaborating with members of trade associations such as AKKII, PTFEA, SAFEA, OFI and OATA to establish GMAD as a freely available source of information on the global aquarium industry. The common objective of GMAD is to gather, integrate, collect, standardize and provide fast and easy access to data on the trade of individual species by placing this information in the public domain, through a web-searchable interface http www.unep-wcmc.org marine...

From Ocean to Aquarium

Colette Wabnitz

The global trade in marine ornamental species Colette Wabnitz, Michelle Taylor, Edmund Green and Tries Razak UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre 219 Huntingdon Road Cambridge CB3 0DL, UK Tel 44 0 1223 277314 Fax 44 0 1223 277136 E-mail info unep-wcmc.org Website www.unep-wcmc.org The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre is the biodiversity assessment and policy implementation arm of the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP , the world's foremost intergovernmental environmental...