Fish rejections in the marine aquarium trade: an initial case study raises concern for village-based fisheries

Militz, Thane, Kinch, Jeff, Foale, Simon, and Southgate, Paul (2016) Fish rejections in the marine aquarium trade: an initial case study raises concern for village-based fisheries. PLoS ONE, 11 (3). e0151624. pp. 1-14.

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A major difficulty in managing wildlife trade is the reliance on trade data (rather than capture data) to monitor exploitation of wild populations. Collected organisms that die or are rejected before a point of sale often go unreported. For the global marine aquarium trade, identifying the loss of collected fish from rejection, prior to export, is a first step in assessing true collection levels. This study takes a detailed look at fish rejections by buyers before export using the Papua New Guinea marine aquarium fishery as a case study. Utilizing collection invoices detailing the species and quantity of fish (Actinopteri and Elasmobranchii) accepted or rejected by the exporting company it was determined that, over a six month period, 24.2% of the total fish catch reported (n = 13,886) was rejected. Of the ten most collected fish families, rejection frequency was highest for the Apogonidae (54.2%), Chaetodontidae (26.3%), and Acanthuridae (18.2%) and lowest for Labridae (6.6%) and Hemiscylliidae (0.7%). The most frequently cited reasons for rejection were fin damage (45.6% of cases), undersized fish (21.8%), and fish deemed too thin (11.1%). Despite fishers receiving feedback on invoices explaining rejections, there was no improvement in rejection frequencies over time (r = -0.33, P = 0.15) with weekly rejection frequencies being highly inconsistent (range: 2.8% to 79.4%; s = 16.3%). These findings suggest that export/import statistics can greatly underestimate collection for the marine aquarium trade as additional factors such as fisher discards, escapees, post-collection mortalities, and unregulated domestic trade would further contribute to this disparity.

Item ID: 44050
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
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Copyright Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 4 of the following PhD thesis: < Militz, Thane A. (2017) A review of the Papua New Guinea marine aquarium fishery. PhD thesis, James Cook University>, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Australian Centre for Agricultural Research (ACIAR), National Fisheries Authority (NFA)
Projects and Grants: ACIAR project FIS/2010/54
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2016 07:30
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 60%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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