22 February 2018
THE TRADE IN LIVE REEF FOOD FISH
22 February 2018
Hong Kong has a great demand for Life Reef Food Fish (LRFF) and the city is a hub for the international trade. Fish under threat from extinction can be found in this market, such as several species of groupers, fish that Hong Kong plays a significant role in trading. This report explains and illustrates the LRFF trade associated with Hong Kong, looking at the key species involved, how much is imported and re-exported, and how these species are being transported around the world and through the Hong Kong trade hub. It also identifies the current best available solutions to the problem, encouraging supplier countries/territories and traders to take on the responsibility of managing their local stocks in order to reach sustainability It also recommends that the Hong Kong government tighten the current legislation on monitoring and regulation the trade.
“Since the late nineties, intergovernmental agencies, NGOs, academics and extensive literature have highlighted the unsustainability of the South East Asian Live Reef Food Fish Trade (LRFFT). Despite the economic benefits for many involved, there is undeniably a dark side to this lucrative trade in colourful fishes which involves a wealth of issues. Collectively, these represent a major challenge to ensuring the LRFFT’s long-term sustainability. A disturbing pattern has emerged of overfishing, illegal trade, tariff avoidance, conservation threats to several species, destructive and damaging fishing methods, and even corruption. This darker side is particularly relevant to the wild capture aspect of the trade.
While many of these issues were recognised more than two decades ago, concerns continue to be expressed. Despite various interventions having been launched and completed, the overall result has not reversed the worrying trajectory that these fisheries are on and, today, continued overfishing and unregulated and unsustainable practices persist. If not addressed, the future of the trade looks bleak, potentially impacting thousands of livelihoods in the region, not to mention the viability of populations of several particularly favoured LRFF species. The report, The Trade in Live Reef Food Fish – Going Going Gone aims to reflect upon why so little progress has been made to date, towards achieving a sustainable LRFFT, by examining the trade’s many components and characteristics. It thus provides a comprehensive profile of the LRFFT over two decades, based on the best available information from both major exporting and importing countries, as well as from independent surveys and studies. It is hoped that it will serve as an important reminder of the inertia that has plagued efforts to reform the LRFFT, and also as a catalyst for a reinvigorated pursuit of options that could direct the LRFFT towards a sustainable path.”
Read the report here.