WWF: Improve live reef fish trade
The World Wildlife Fund is calling for an end to overfishing in the Coral Triangle — a six-nation, 2.3 million-square-mile region in the South Pacific stretching from the Philippines to the Solomon Islands — by discouraging the trade of live reef fish in markets such as Hong Kong and mainland China.
The call to action comes as representatives of industry, government, academia and NGOs meet in Bali, Indonesia, on Monday to discuss the region’s future, including ways to sustianably manage the region’s live reef fish trade.
According to WWF, up to 70 percent of reef fish in parts of the Coral Triangle are harvested before they mature and reproduce by fishermen from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
“Overfishing and destructive fishing practices such as the use of cyanide and explosives are being driven by an increasing demand for seafood across Asia-Pacific and exacerbated by the lack of effective systems to sustainably manage this burgeoning industry,” said Dr. Geoffrey Muldoon of the WWF Coral Triangle Program.
Muldoon emphasized that the problem must be addressed at both ends of the supply chain. He called on the market’s key players to reward fishermen for fishing sustainability. “There lies a critical and urgent need for innovative programs that link markets to sustainability,” he said.
Co-organized by WWF and Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia and supported by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, the meeting is intended to identify market-based opportunities to improve the live reef fish trade.
The Coral Triangle contains 30 percent of the world’s coral reefs, 76 percent of its coral species and 37 percent of its reef fish species.