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Article

An Updated Review of the Marine Ornamental Fish Trade in the European Union

by
Monica Virginia Biondo
1,*,
Rainer Patrick Burki
2,
Francisco Aguayo
3 and
Ricardo Calado
4
1
Fondation Franz Weber, 3011 Bern, Switzerland
2
asdfg IT, Fluh 86, 3204 Rosshaeusern, Switzerland
3
Faculty of Higher Studies Cuautitlán, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City 54714, Mexico
4
ECOMARE, CESAM—Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, Department of Biology, Santiago University Campus, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1761; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121761
Submission received: 29 April 2024 / Revised: 29 May 2024 / Accepted: 8 June 2024 / Published: 11 June 2024
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Animals)

Simple Summary

Marine aquarium keeping is a popular hobby that fuels a global industry that still heavily relies on the sourcing of wild organisms, mostly from tropical coral reefs. The European Union (EU) is one of the largest import markets for marine ornamental fish. Despite being mandatory and already fully digital, the record-keeping of what species are imported in what numbers from which exporting countries remains blurry. The present work presents curated and consolidated data reporting the value, the exporting and importing countries, and the number of specimens, species, and families of marine ornamental fish imported to the EU between 2014 and 2021. A 24-million-euro annual trade value was recorded, and 26 million specimens were imported from more than 60 countries (mostly Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka). A watchlist is presented to provide guidance to stakeholders on which marine ornamental fish species being traded most likely require closer monitoring due to their potential impact through trade. The European TRAde Control and Expert System (TRACES) requires some minor tunning to enable authorities to easily monitor the imports of marine ornamental fish into the EU, thus allowing an unprecedented insight into this and other trade activities targeting wildlife.

Abstract

Wild-caught fish from coral reefs, one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet, continue to supply the marine aquarium trade. Despite customs and veterinary checks during imports, comprehensive data on this global industry remain scarce. This study provides consolidated data on the largest import market by value, the European Union (EU): a 24-million-euro annual trade value, detailing the main exporting and importing countries, as well as the species and families of the 26 million specimens imported between 2014 and 2021. A watchlist alert system based on the number of specimens traded, import trends, and vulnerability index according to FishBase and the IUCN Red List conservation status is presented, providing key information on which species should require closer scrutiny by authorities. While the European TRAde Control and Expert System (TRACES) electronically monitors the movement of live animals to respond quickly to biosecurity risks, one-third of marine ornamental fish imported lack species-level information. With minor adjustments, TRACES holds the potential to significantly enhance data granularity and the monitoring of wildlife trade, with marine ornamental fish being an interesting case study to validate this approach.
Keywords: coral reef fish; international aquarium trade; management; value; TRAde Control and Expert System TRACES coral reef fish; international aquarium trade; management; value; TRAde Control and Expert System TRACES

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MDPI and ACS Style

Biondo, M.V.; Burki, R.P.; Aguayo, F.; Calado, R. An Updated Review of the Marine Ornamental Fish Trade in the European Union. Animals 2024, 14, 1761. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121761

AMA Style

Biondo MV, Burki RP, Aguayo F, Calado R. An Updated Review of the Marine Ornamental Fish Trade in the European Union. Animals. 2024; 14(12):1761. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121761

Chicago/Turabian Style

Biondo, Monica Virginia, Rainer Patrick Burki, Francisco Aguayo, and Ricardo Calado. 2024. "An Updated Review of the Marine Ornamental Fish Trade in the European Union" Animals 14, no. 12: 1761. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121761

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