Trade bodies from around the world are calling on aquatic businesses to sign up to help them to compile a “comprehensive” picture of the marine ornamental fish trade.
This follows the 18th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), held in Geneva this August, where the international pet trade was put under the spotlight.
Amongst their decisions, CITES Parties agreed to convene a technical workshop to consider the conservation priorities and management needs related to the trade in non-CITES listed marine ornamental fish worldwide with a particular focus on data from importing and exporting countries.
Trade bodies have asked CITES Parties to fully engage industry in their assessment and analysis and are keen to work in partnership with key inter-governmental organisations such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the UN’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in providing accurate trade data to support the work now planned by CITES.
Dominic Whitmee, the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association, said: “This work could have significant implications for our industry across the globe. Interventions by Parties and others demonstrated a troubling lack of knowledge about the trade and a seemingly inherent view that the trade is unsustainable and in need of management and reform.
“This may be the case in some instances but it is unfair to categorise the entire industry in this way.”
Svein Fossa, Ornamental Fish International, added: “It is clear from discussions in CITES that some people are targeting the international pet trade. To achieve a constructive approach the engagement of our member businesses will be paramount – to provide the data needed to develop a sound understanding of trade volumes and pathways.
“Without good baseline data we can expect ill-informed decision-making and potentially damaging outcomes.”