The Banggai Cardinal, properly called Pterapogon kauderni, is a fairly new fish for the salt water aquarium. The fish in the aquarium is fairly sedentary, but has lovely colouring, with black vertical striping on a silver body and a long forked tail, again silver/black. It has become popular for obvious reasons.
A while ago it seemed likely that supplies of this fish from the wild would dry up because it appeared that the wild fish was under threat. Not a happy situation if correct.
The ‘under threat’ problem arose because it is believed that around 700,000 of these fish are collected for the aquarium trade each year. When the total estimated population in the wild is considered the cause for concern becomes obvious, this number is 2,000,000, so most would agree that the collection ratio is high. The fish only come from one small part of the Pacific Ocean so there is considerable collection concentration. The fish are mouth brooders (like freshwater cichlids) so perhaps the ratio of successful births to adulthood is high. However, whether that is the case or not, the fish only raise a few fish at a time so the ‘threat’ isn’t reduced. Open spawning fish produce huge amounts of eggs, and others such as clownfish produce far more fry. So the danger of insufficient natural replacement seemed real.
CITES became involved and the situation was under discussion. It very much looked as though a CITES ban on the importation of the fish would occur, if this ban appeared all imports into the US and EU would be prohibited.
Supply would be reduced to aquarists breeding the fish (a not impossible task) and commercial breeding which is being done, though limited.
However, as CITES ban did not occur. A considerable amount of discussion and agreed cooperation has avoided this. The government of the area has undertaken to strictly manage the situation, which includes training of local collectors and control of the numbers of fish collected relative to the estimated wild population. Aquarium trade groups and monitoring authorities have also undertaken to be involved. CITES had declared the fish as ‘at risk’ without further current action.
It seems likely that the number of these fish being exported from the collection area will or has reduced. This could have an effect on price, but who is going to complain in a circumstance such as this? Home bred fish but mainly commercially bred ones should counteract any fish scarcity to an extent.
Combined discussion and action seems to have produced a sensible outcome, the fish are being protected and at the same time interested parties such as aquarists and collectors have not been locked out.
The link shows a picture of the fish and some breeding information: