Coral Reefs

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 344–351 | Cite as

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



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 



This project would not have been possible without the logistic and research support of our NGO partner, Yayasan Pemerhati Lingkungan (YPL). We are grateful to the many people that provided advice and help to us on this project, particularly Suryani Mile, Jerome Doucet, Dr. Heather Hall, Dr. Mark Erdmann, and Alejandro Vagelli, and the aquarium dealers, fishers, government officials, and others who very kindly took the time to share information with us. We would like to thank our interpreters Wirdan Al Hasni, Suryani Mile, and Daniel Sumampouw for their excellent assistance. Many thanks to Dr. Amanda Vincent, Julia Baum, Allison Perry and two anonymous reviewers for invaluable advice on previous drafts of this manuscript, and to John Fowler and Jason Miller for technical support. Funding for this work was provided by a Rufford Small Grant (Whitley Awards Foundation, UK), Chester Zoo (UK), Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (USA), Reef Conservation UK, and PADI’s Project Aware.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  3. 3.Zoological Society of LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

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