Aquat. Living Resour.
Volume 31, 2018
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Published online||12 July 2018|
Natural rarity places clownfish colour morphs at risk of targeted and opportunistic exploitation in a marine aquarium fishery
Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research and Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast,
2 College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
3 National Fisheries College, National Fisheries Authority, Kavieng, Papua New Guinea
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Handling Editor: Richard Lorne Little
Accepted: 25 May 2018
As fish stocks become depleted, exploitation eventually fails to be cost-efficient. However, species or morphs of species can suffer from continual exploitation if their rarity results in increased value, justifying the cost-efficiency of targeted or opportunistic exploitation. The trade in coral reef fishes for public and private aquaria is an industry in which naturally rare species and rare morphs of species command high prices. Here we investigate the relationship between price and the natural prevalence of colour morphs of two highly demanded clownfish species using a localised case study. The export prices for colour morphs increased with decreasing prevalence of occurrence (y = 4.60x−0.51, R2 = 0.43), but price increase was inversely less than the observed reduction in prevalence. This renders rare colour morphs (i.e., those at relatively low prevalence) at risk of opportunistic exploitation. Using ecological data, we also demonstrate how this increased value can subject rare colour morphs with aggregated distributions to targeted exploitation. These findings are discussed in relation to the broader marine aquarium trade, identifying taxa potentially at risk from exploitation motivated by rarity and addressing potential management strategies.
Key words: Aquarium trade / Amphiprion percula / Premnas biaculeatus / Papua New Guinea / management / consumer demand
© EDP Sciences 2018
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