Coral Reefs

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 344-351

First online:

Unmonitored trade in marine ornamental fishes: the case of Indonesia’s Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)

  • K. E. LunnAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of VictoriaZoological Society of London
  • , M.-A. MoreauAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, McGill UniversityZoological Society of London Email author 

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Millions of coral reef fishes are collected each year for sale on the international aquarium market. Several marine ornamental species, including the Banggai cardinalfish, are biologically unsuitable for large-scale exploitation, yet their trade continues largely unmonitored. With little known about the Banggai cardinalfish or its trade, we interviewed trade participants from north and central Sulawesi, Indonesia, to document the organization, scale, and price structure of the species’ local collection and sale. Interviews revealed a large and growing commerce in Banggai cardinalfish, with at least 118,000 fish per month being sold in the Banggai region during the study period. Given the scale of the trade, the species’ restricted geographic range, and its natural susceptibility to exploitation, we propose that long-term monitoring is needed to safeguard Banggai cardinalfish populations and to serve as a much-needed example for monitoring and managing other marine ornamental fishes at risk of over-exploitation.


International aquarium trade Reef fish exploitation Trade monitoring Banggai cardinalfish Artisanal fisheries