The Global Marine Aquarium Database Gmad

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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 ( marine/GMAD).

For their own files, companies keep records of their sales, either on company computer databases or, more commonly, as paper copies of their invoices. Although the way in which companies register their trade records varies, all records show species name, quantity, date and usually origin and/or destination. A number of these companies provided UNEP-WCMC with access to their sales records. These data have been processed, checked and formatted: species names have been verified and electronic data from different electronic systems placed into a single standardized database. As at August 2003, GMAD contained 102,928

Royal angelfish, Pygoplites diacanthus (left) and a nudibranch (right).

Royal angelfish, Pygoplites diacanthus (left) and a nudibranch (right).

Marine Image DatabaseAll Invertebrates
Clown anemonefish, Amphiprion oceiiaris.

records. Data records in GMAD cover 2,393 species (corals, other invertebrates and fish) from 1988 to 2003. In order to avoid confusion, unless otherwise stated, the term invertebrates will be used to refer to all invertebrate species other than corals.

Each record in GMAD is the total number of specimens traded for a unique combination of: species name, country of export, country of import and year. However, for importers' data, a large number of records were submitted by wholesalers without information about country of origin.

GMAD trade data are linked to two external databases:

□ FishBase58 for photographs of fish species, and fish distribution and taxonomy, and

□ the Species Conservation Database59 for information on invertebrate taxonomy, distribution, relevant legislation, conservation status and associated literature and common names.

It is important to note that trade data cannot be pooled because some of the contributing importers trade with some of the contributing exporters. Hence, pooling data would create duplications. In order to avoid such confusion, GMAD was designed to allow for import and export data to be queried separately.

As an example, if interested in the number of clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) traded between Indonesia and the United States for the year 1999 one can calculate two numbers. The first, based on importers' data, shows that 4,223 Amphiprion ocellaris were imported into the United States from Indonesia between those years. The second number, based on export data, shows that 5,565 specimens were exported from Indonesia to the United States. As of August 2003, GMAD contains export data from 20 Indonesian companies (though most of the data provided pertains to coral exports), and importers' data from four US wholesalers. There are, of course, other companies in Indonesia and the United States trading in Amphiprion ocellaris that have not contributed their data to GMAD, and therefore these figures are just a quantitative total based on data contributed to GMAD by August 2003.

As a consequence of this, GMAD cannot be used to calculate net volumes of trade in any one species, or between any pair of countries. Calculations of quantities of specimens traded in a particular species will be more or less indicative of the trade in this species depending in part on the proportion of operational wholesale export and import companies contributing data to GMAD. However, it is a very useful tool as an indicator of trends and, for the first time in the case of fish and invertebrates, it allows estimates based on quantitative, rather than qualitative, data to be derived.

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