Coastal Fisheries Programme
Number 21 - June 2016

Editor and Group Coordinator: Tom Graham, PO Box 235, Honolulu, HI 96809 USA. Phone/fax: +1 (808) 625 8755

Production: Pacific Community, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division, Fisheries Information Section, PO BOX D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Produced with financial assistance from the Australian Government, the European Union, France and the New Zealand Aid Programme.

Editor's note

It’s been almost five years since the previous Live Reef Fish Information Bulletin was published. That’s a long hiatus. The gap certainly does not reflect a lack of live reef fish activity in the region. Fisheries for ornamentals continue to be active in about a dozen Pacific Island countries. Fisheries for live food fish are, as usual, more volatile than those for ornamentals, but they are occurring in a number of locales in the Pacific Islands region.

TThe lack of bulletins is due to a lack of contributions, and because of that lack of interest, this might be the final Live Reef Fish Information Bulletin. Although I’m not excited about it being the last, I’m pleased to introduce what I think is a well-rounded final bulletin. It includes articles on both live food fish and ornamentals. It covers the trade from fishermen to consumers. And true to the scope of this bulletin, the range of topics and disciplines is broad, from trade policies to laboratory techniques.

The first article, by Gregg Yan, looks at the international trade in marine ornamental fish and recommends ways to shift the trade to hardy species and from wild to cultured products. In the next article, Nicole Herz and colleagues focus on one of the problems highlighted by Yan – the widespread use and ill effects of cyanide to capture fish, and they reveal the difficulties in developing a cost-effective method of detecting whether live fish were caught with cyanide. In Gregg Yan’s second contribution, he focuses on the outsized role of the leopard coral trout in the region’s live reef food fish trade, particularly in the Philippines, and envisions a transition from a trade based on wild fish or grown-out wild-caught juveniles to one based on full-cycle mariculture. The final two articles in this bulletin are devoted to the humphead wrasse, which has populated many pages of this bulletin over the years. The first of the two articles, by Robert Gillett, is taken from a report he prepared six years ago. Although six years old, it is far from out of date. It offers practical ideas for improving monitoring and management of the species, particularly from the perspective of source countries and in the context of their varied management objectives. The final article, by Joyce Wu and Yvonne Sadovy de Mitcheson, is taken from their just-released report on the trade of humphead wrasse into and through Hong Kong. Twelve years after the species was listed on Appendix II of CITES, the authors reveal that the systems for documenting and monitoring the trade of humphead wrasse need considerable work. They offer ways that Hong Kong and mainland China can strengthen trade monitoring and improve compliance with the laws of exporting and importing countries.

I believe that the contributions to this bulletin over the last 20 years have improved the management of export fisheries for live reef products in the region and the broader trade. In the case of ornamental products, many countries have sustained export fisheries over many years, and although they are not problem-free, my perception is that the main challenges are mostly a matter reducing adverse environmental impacts and improving efficiency so that greater benefits are available throughout the chain of custody. For live food fish products, we have yet to answer – at least for many countries in the region – the more fundamental question of whether export fisheries are viable. Twenty years ago, Bob Johannes, whose work revealed the need for this bulletin, and who edited it for its first six years, set the stage for a huge wave of research and policy work by asking: Can fisheries for live reef food fish be put on a sustainable footing, and what would it take to do so? Some Pacific Island countries have answered the first question for themselves by shutting down exports of live food fish. Others are still exploring the possibility of developing sustainable fisheries. In both cases, the tremendous body of work behind the contributions to this bulletin have helped inform those decisions. And because many countries and locales are still working on the best ways to manage the trade of live reef products, I believe the 20-year collection of these bulletins will be useful for some time to come.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Saving Nemo – Reducing mortality rates of wild-caught ornamental fish
Yan G. (pdf: 682 KB)
High-performance liquid chromatography to detect thiocyanate in reef fish caught with cyanide: A practical field application
Herz N., Ferse S., Rovi Alfiansah Y., Kunzmann A. (pdf: 500 KB)
Farming leopards at sea: Paving the way for full-cycle grouper mariculture
Yan G. (pdf: 426 KB)
Monitoring and management of the humphead wrasse, Cheilinus undulatus
Gillett R. (pdf: 240 KB)
The trade in humphead wrasse into and through Hong Kong
Wu J., Sadovy de Mitcheson Y. (pdf: 333 KB)
Noteworthy publications
(pdf: 80 KB)
News and Events
(pdf: 89 KB)

Download the complete publication:

Live Reef Fish #21 (pdf: )

The views expressed in this Bulletin are those of the authors
and are not necessarily shared by the Pacific Community
   SPC Homepage | Copyright © SPC 2021