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.

Species

No. of specimens

Species

No. of specimens

(exporters' data)

(importers' data)

Abudefduf spp.

78,749

Chromis viridis

218,905

Chrysiptera cyanea

73,536

Pomacentrus australis

161,740

Dascyllus aruanus

72,435

Zebrasoma flavescens

160,458

Dascyllus albisella

60,328

Dascyllus aruanus

147,525

Amphiprion percula

59,710

Dascyllus spp.

116,306

Chrysiptera hemicyanea

38,162

Chrysiptera parasema

113,493

Paracanthurus hepatus

31,636

Chrysiptera cyanea

77,890

Chromis atripectoralis

30,912

Chrysiptera hemicyanea

76,960

Dascyllus trimaculatus

30,267

Dascyllus trimaculatus

69,572

Labroides dimidiatus

28,110

Labroides dimidiatus

53,812

Total

503,845

Total

1,196,661

The threespot dascyllus, Dascyiius trimaculatus.

Seahorse, Hippocampus erectus.

The threespot dascyllus, Dascyiius trimaculatus.

Seahorse, Hippocampus erectus.

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). Data from exporters show a total of 6,138 seahorses exported to the EU between 1999 and 2003. Annex D data show the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Austria and the United Kingdom as the main importers of seahorses in the EU, accounting for some 94 per cent of all EU imports. Similarly GMAD data from both importers and exporters show the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom to have been the main European importers.

The Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Singapore were the main countries of export and accounted for 96 per cent (102,074 specimens) of all reported imports of seahorses into EU countries between 1998 and 2001 according to Annex D data. GMAD importers' data show Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Brazil and the Philippines to be the most significant exporters of seahorses. Singapore does not appear as a significant exporter of seahorses based on GMAD data compared to more than 7,000 exports using Annex D figures.

Trade data from both Annex D and GMAD indicate that Hippocampus erectus and Hippocampus kuda are the most commonly traded species and show that a large number of individuals are being traded as Hippocampus spp. (35 per cent of Annex D data, 73 per cent of GMAD importers' data). The large number of traded individuals recorded as Hippocampusspp. is undoubtedly a reflection of the difficulties experienced in identification of individual species. The high level of synonymy in the Hippocampus genus also means that there may be errors in the trade data. For example, reports indicate that there may be more than one species traded under the name H. kuda60. Indeed, seahorse taxonomy (identification of individual species) has undergone many changes over recent years and a number of new species have been described60-62.

As an interesting note, although it is strictly illegal to import tropical species under the name of H. kuda into France166, GMAD lists a total of 328 specimens from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines as imported into France as H. kuda between the years 1997 and 2001.

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