The conflict between the Live Fish Trade and Government Reform

Unpacking of shipment of live reef fish received in Hong Kong from the Philippines © Geoffrey MuldoonA report has been published by the WWF., highlighting the conflicts between the live reef food fish trade within the Coral Triangle and the various countries involved in the accord.

The report makes interesting reading, but we must not lose site of an industry that is serving the well off in distant countries, the middle man at the expense of the local fisherman.

Here are some extracts from the report :

“In the Palawan province of the Philippines, the average income of households participating in the LRFFT is estimated at between four and six times the provincial average. That said, despite being a highly lucrative industry, the financial benefits from the international trade of live fish does not necessarily reach local fishers. Their income does not always reflect the trade’s profits.

“Some imports of Napoleon wrasse into other countries such as China are not documented while shipments to Singapore are neither recorded as re-exports nor marked with countries of origin”

“Apart from prohibitions on destructive fishing methods, a permit system for endangered species, and food safety requirements for aquaculture products, the Philippines has yet to adopt specific measures on the LRFFT to address gaps in its domestic framework. Its registration and licensing systems, data collection, port state control and other MCS-related measures apply generally to all types of fisheries. They do not adequately address some of the specific threats to the sustainability of the LRFFT.”

“In 2003, these reef fish were sold to restaurants for between HK$150 and HK$990 per kilo.”

Although grossly out of date you can expect this to be considerably higher now.

Check out the report.


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