Wholeheartedly for Sustainability?
During the Seventeenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of CITES the European Union withdrew its proposal to list the Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) under CITES Appendix II. In 2007 the United States of America proposed the species for listing already. Same as this year the original request was pulled back based on Indonesia’s commitment for better management and conservation measures protecting the species in its very limited range in the Banggai Islands, Central Sulawesi.
It is odd to see that these proposals keep on being withdrawn, when P. kauderni remains categorized as Endangered in the IUCN Red list based on its very small area occupancy and an continuing population decrease, associated with the exploitation for the marine aquarium trade. Since 8 years the Indonesian management measures have either not been taken or haven’t improved the population status of P. kauderni. Among the usual threats applying to most if not all coral reef associated populations like ocean acidification, climate change and pollution, this species has been impacted by collection to satisfy the demand of marine hobbyists. The first proposal in 2007 resulted in an increased effort to breed Banggai cardinals and nowadays cultured specimens are the norm in our hobby. Helping to the monitor the trade of the remaining wild population via a CITES Annex II listing should be the least we can do for this iconic species.
A data rich and proven sustainable aquarium trade would be a great goal for regulators, trade associations and hobbyists alike.