Reef fish industry booming China's economy, but emptying Asian seas of exotic species

chinas live reef fish trading 9

The world’s live reef fish industry is devastating reefs across the Pacific Ocean and in turn, the lucrative trade is raising concerns and fears among conservationists and biologists.

reef fish delicacies lure tourists 9The turquoise fish with red dots has been a delicacy for tourists for long. The increasing demands for this coral fish has exploded in line with China’s economy, which is booming. Some other species such as the ‘humphead wrasse’ are already feared to have gone endangered.

Chen, a fish merchant said,

You may not be able to eat it in 4 to 5 years, whatever money you pay. This is the favourite among people from mainland China.

Disappointingly, the fish tanks of Hong Kong restaurant are found to be filled with exotic fish species all that gathered from around Southeast Asia, Australia, including the remote Pacific islands, such as Fiji and Vanuatu.

Hong Kong traders are now reaching far and wide in search for ‘increasingly’ rare fish – like groupers, snappers and humphead wrasse – with the marine stock already exhausted in its nearby waters.

Andy Cornish, director for conservation at the WWF Hong Kong said,

Basically it’s been like a vacuum cleaner across the region. Reefs near Hong Kong were depleted decades ago, and the trade has moved further and further away to source fish.

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