Coastal Fisheries Programme

Number 15 - December 2005

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.

From the Editor

If there is a theme in this issue of the bulletin, it is making live reef fish fisheries in the Asia-Pacific region sustainable. Admittedly, that’s a broad theme. In fact, the five articles cover a diverse range of topics, from the challenges of achieving compliance with destructive fishing laws, to the ability of various taxa of reef fish to survive in aquarium conditions.

Using some sobering law enforcement statistics from the Calamianes Group of Islands in the Philippines, Dante Dalabajan reminds us that the best conceived policies and laws mean nothing if they cannot be enforced. The Calamianes have active fisheries for live food fish and ornamental fish, and there are a variety of national and local laws designed to prevent cyanide fishing. But Dalabajan finds that in practice the legal system as a whole provides little deterrent, and cyanide fishing is consequently common. He proposes a number of changes to the law enforcement system, including mobilising citizens’ groups, in order to “fix the broken net.”

Thierry Mulochau and Patrick Durville take advantage of five years of routine monitoring of the comings and goings of reef fish at a public aquarium on Reunion Island to measure the survival rates of fish within 43 families, thus improving our understanding of which reef fish species might be more “suited for life” in aquaria.

The trade in ornamental reef fish has been the subject of efforts by the Marine Aquarium Council (MAC) to implement a certification and labelling scheme for a number of years, as regularly reported in this bulletin. In a study independent of MAC, Liliana Alencastro et al. examine the degree to which an eco-label on ornamental fish might be important to hobbyists — that is, whether hobbyists are willing to pay a premium for such a label. The results give an indication of how well a certification program such as the MAC scheme is likely to work, or alternatively, an indication of how much outreach to consumers will be needed to make it work.

The trade in live reef food fish has taken the first tentative step towards a certification scheme, with the recent release of an “International Standard for the Trade in Live Reef Food Fish” (see issues 11 and 12 of this bulletin for reports on the development of the Standard). Geoffrey Muldoon and Peter Scott review the standard, examine the prospects for achieving compliance with the standard via a certification program, and outline a plan for implementing such a program.

The final article in this bulletin, by Brian Johnston and Being Yeeting, describes the proceedings of a recent workshop held as part of a three-year study of the economics and marketing of live reef food fish. The purpose of the project is to assist producer countries in securing adequate returns from their fisheries and to ensure that supply is sustainable in the long term, from both wild-caught and cultured sources.

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Fixing the broken net: Improving enforcement of laws regulating cyanide fishing in the Calamianes Group of Islands, Philippines
Dalabajan D. (pdf: 240 KB)
A review of the movements of fish held in captivity in the Reunion Island Aquarium over a five-year period
Mulochau T., Durville P. (pdf: 98 KB)
Hobbyists' preferences for marine ornamental fish: A discrete choice analysis of ecolabeling and selected product attributes
Alencastro L.A., Degner R.L., Larkin S.L. (pdf: 120 KB)
The International Standard for the Trade in Live Reef Food Fish: From voluntary code to certification
Muldoon G.J., Scott P.G. (pdf: 129 KB)
Economic and market analysis of the live reef food fish trade in the Asia-Pacific region
Johnston B., Yeeting B.M. (pdf: 62 KB)

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