Traffic-New study highlights scale of illegal and unreported Humphead Wrasse trade

 

 

 

Hong Kong, 17th March 2016—market surveys in Hong Kong and mainland China have revealed the large scale of illegal and unreported trade in Humphead Wrasse despite the introduction of regulatory measures in 2005. 

 



The Humphead Wrasse is a large, naturally rare, slow growing and high value reef fish that is usually traded live and consumed as a delicacy particularly in Hong Kong and mainland China, along with various other reef fish such as groupers and other wrasses. 

 



The study, Humphead (Napoleon) Wrasse Cheilinus undulatus trade into and through Hong Kong (PDF, 1.3 MB), was published today by TRAFFIC and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Grouper and Wrasse Specialist Group (GWSG) and funded by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and The University of Hong Kong. 

 



In 2005, the Humphead Wrasse was listed in Appendix II of CITES, in order to regulate its international trade to sustainable levels through the issuing of export permits by source countries, while Hong Kong also requires import permits for CITES II listed species.

 



According to UNEP-WCMC data, the official global database for trade in CITES-listed species, Indonesia and Malaysia are the main exporters of Humphead Wrasse, although only Indonesia currently issues CITES export permits; Malaysia set its export quotas for live Humphead Wrasse to zero in 2010 and for all Humphead Wrasse to zero in 2015.  

 



Traders also told the report’s authors that significant numbers of Humphead Wrasse are sourced from the Philippines, as also claimed by a number of e-commerce websites. However, according to the CITES trade data only three live fish have been exported from the Philippines. 

 

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