Coastal Fisheries Programme

Number 18 - November 2008

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

Production: Information Section, Marine Resources Division, SPC, PO BOX D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia Fax (687) 263818)

Prepared with financial assistance from Australia, France and New Zealand.

Editor's note

This issue of the Live Reef Fish Information Bulletin features three articles about a single species, the Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni), a species whose geographic range is limited to a very small area in Indonesia but the market for which, as a popular ornamental fish, is global.

The first article, by Ron Lilley, describes the situation on the ground and in the water in the Banggai Archipelago: the species, the fishery, and the communities involved. He also outlines efforts being made to improve local management of the Banggai cardinalfish and other marine resources in the area. The second article, by Mochamad Indrawan and Suseno, gives us a close look at some of Indonesia’s internal deliberations in 2007 in preparation for the global community’s decision as to whether the species should be afforded protection under CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Finally, Alejandro Vagelli provides a thorough description of the status of the Banggai cardinalfish and a revealing account of the deliberations of the parties to CITES and the factors that influenced their decision. (Sorry, but I am not giving away the decision here; you will need to read the articles.)

The Banggai cardinalfish makes an interesting case study of a marine ornamental species, not least because of its peculiar biological attributes. It is also instructive as an example of the relationship between local and international management of a natural resource. CITES can be seen as a management tool of last resort, to be applied only when local management has failed. Similarly, CITES can be viewed as a “protected species” management tool, as opposed to a “fisheries” management tool, again, to be applied only when the latter has failed. The tension between these management approaches — international versus local and protection versus regulation — is evident in the three articles in this Bulletin. Perhaps it is a healthy tension. For example, the looming “threat” of a species being listed under CITES might serve as an impetus for stronger local efforts to manage the resource effectively, even if the species is not actually listed. In fact, the first level of protection under CITES, listing under its Appendix II, does not prohibit trade, but merely requires that a nation, before allowing an export of a listed species, determine that the product was taken legally and that its export would not be detrimental to the survival of the species. In other words, it must ensure that the local management system is doing its job satisfactorily.

For previous articles about the application of CITES to marine species, see Bulletin #13 about seahorses (Hippocampus spp.) and the humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus).

The final article in this Bulletin, by Emmanuel Malpot, René Galzin and Georges Remoissenet, reviews the efforts in French Polynesia during the last 15 years to research and develop techniques to harvest and rear post-larval reef fish. The authors conclude their article with comments on the potential for the development of “reef aquaculture” in the Pacific Islands. For other information and perspectives on this topic, see the article by Gilles Lecaillon and Sven Michel Lourié in Bulletin #17. Also note that the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research has published a practical manual on these techniques, focusing on production for the aquarium trade. See the Noteworthy Publications section for details.

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The Banggai cardinalfish: An overview of conservation challenges
Lilley R. (pdf: 642 KB)
The complications of CITES inclusion of endemic species in Indonesia: Lessons learned from an in-country deliberation on protecting the Banggai cardinalfish, Pterapogon kauderni
Indrawan M., Suseno (pdf: 82 KB)
The unfortunate journey of Pterapogon kauderni: A remarkable apogonid endangered by the international ornamental fish trade, and its case in CITES
Vagelli A.A. (pdf: 936 KB)
Using coral reef fish larvae: Synopsis of work conducted in French Polynesia
Malpot E., Galzin R., Remoissenet G. (pdf: 349 KB)

Download the complete publication:

Live Reef Fish #18 (pdf: )

The views expressed in this Bulletin are those of the authors and are not necessarily shared
by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community
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