Organizers: Yvonne Sadovy1 & Martin Russell1

Affiliations: 1/ Science and Conservation of Fish Aggregation, University of Hong Kong


Lead contact: Yvonne Sadovy

Description: With growing pressures on fish populations in ever-globalized trade, developing countries in the tropics are characterized by a pattern of increasing exports of high-value coastal and pelagic fishes, and imports of low value species for food. Many of the species being exported are particularly vulnerable to overfishing both because of their biology (longevity, sex change, aggregation-spawning, etc.) and because they are seldom subjected to effective management or monitored. Moreover, many fetch high prices which can act as a strong incentive to conduct illegal and unregulated fishing and trade. In particular, little, overall, is known about the scope, nature and economic value of international trade in coastal fishes and its possible implications for fish populations, marine ecosystems, coastal livelihoods, national incomes and food security in exploited areas. This session aims to cast a spotlight on these fishery and trade sectors with the aim to better understand them and identify measures to better monitor, understand and manage them to reduce threats to source countries. Both ornamental and food fish trades will be examined with a focus on the rapidly growing trade in the Indo-Pacific region.

Expected Audience: It is expected that the session will be of considerable interest to biologists with a wide range of interests, marine-focused NGOs and those who work in various aspects of conservation, trade and management of marine fishes, such as governments, particularly in the Pacific region. The topic is of both international and national interest and also touches on other disciplines including law, food security, economics and the social sciences; hence it is highly interdisciplinary. International trade, in particular, is of growing interest and concern but very poorly understood, even by the governments of source countries. And yet there are many opportunities for creative thinking and analysis that could significantly improve the situation and increase benefits to source countries. Associated with these benefits are incentives to manage and conserve marine fish populations. The session is also relevant to international conventions such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), amongst others.