10 October 2016
The following position statement has been released by Ornamental Fish International, which attended the CITES meeting in South Africa, following the decision by the EU to withdraw its proposal for Banggai Cardinals to be listed on Appendix II. OFI was also representing OATA at the CITES meeting and we support this position.
“The situation for the Banggai Cardinal Fish has been of major concern to OFI for many years, although not necessarily for the same reasons as suggested by CITES CoP17 prop. 46.
“We are dealing with a species with a very restricted distribution, exposed to a multitude of threats. In addition to the collection for the ornamental fish trade, which has shown a decreasing trend in later years, these threats include destruction of the macro and micro habitats, due to destructive fishing methods for food fish and selective targeting of the host sea anemones and sea urchins. Use as feeder fish in mariculture of food fish has been reported to be an added threat.
“Because of the complexity of the threat factors for the species, we could not agree to CITES Appendix II listing being an effective tool for protecting the species.
“Through the unfortunate experience with the listing of the seahorses 14 years ago, we are in no doubt that Indonesia with a listing of the Banggai Cardinal Fish most likely would lose much or possibly even all of their trade to breeding operations in non-range countries; and that most likely with very little or no benefit whatsoever to the wild populations in the Banggai Archipelago. It could also not be ruled out that a listing would have an overall negative effect on the conservation of the species.
“OFI therefore wholeheartedly supports the agreement that was adopted at the CITES meeting: to give Indonesia the possibility to implement conservation and management measures, with the support of the CITES Secretariat, Parties and organisations, including the FAO, in the time leading up to the 30th meeting of the CITES Animals Committee.”
22 September 2016
Three ornamental fish species Banggai Cardinal fish (Pterapogon kaudemi), Clarion angelfish (holacanthus clarionensis) and Ocellate river stingray (Potamotyrgon motoro) will be under discussion at the next CITES meeting being held in South Africa between 24 September and 5 October.
The European Union is proposing that Banggai Cardinal fish are put on Appendix II, which could severely restrict access to this marine fish. The CITES Secretariat – which makes recommendations on proposals submitted by Parties – supports the proposal. It does not support restrictions on the other two species.
The proposal to list Banggai Cardinal fish on Appendix II is not supported by Indonesia, the only range country for the species. Indonesia considers that such a listing will do nothing to support their national management of the species.
Putting a species on Appendix II puts restrictions on the ability to trade in that species. The country of origin must make a non-detrimental finding to allow the species to be exported. Further restrictions by the EU can also be placed on species being imported into Europe. If this proposal is successful it will undoubtedly affect our industry through higher import charges and could prevent the import of wild caught Banggai Cardinal into the EU.
The proposal to put Banggai Cardinal fish on Appendix II is a repetition of an earlier failed listing attempt from 2007. However OATA believes that, although updated, the current proposal does not show any likely benefits of a listing. While the proposal indicates that there has been a continuing decline in Banggai Cardinal fish populations within its original distribution area in the Banggai Archipelago, it is unclear what the main factors for the decline are. There are other threats to the species such as habitat destruction which most likely are more significant than the trade, and that can be expected to increase if the trade incentive for protecting the species is lost.
On the grounds that the threat picture for the species is complex and not only linked to ornamental aquatic trade, OATA does not believe that a CITES listing will help the conservation situation for this species. We feel it is inappropriate that the European Union should take this approach without the support of the country of origin, particularly when it could unnecessarily affect fishing communities who may not have many other livelihood options.
OATA is working closely with OFI which will be attending the CITES meeting to make representations on these points and will of course respect the outcome of the meeting.
Indonesian NGO LINI, which works with coastal communities in the country to help fisher communities build a sustainable trade, is a member of OFI. Here’s its take on the CITES proposition on Banggai Cardinals.