Banggais and Stingrays at AC 29
AC 29 brought about surprising progress regarding Indonesia’s stewardship of the Banggai
cardinalfish, while the South American freshwater stingray issue is less decided.
BY JOHN DAWES
The 29th meeting of the CITES Animals Commit- tee (AC 29) was held in Geneva July 18-22 to dis- cuss, among other subjects, matters relating to the
Banggai cardinalfish and South American freshwater
As I reported in a recent installment of International
Waters, the last CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP) resulted in several decisions that directly relate to the Banggai cardinalfish (BCF) and freshwater stingrays.
The CoP gave Indonesia until the 30th meeting of the
AC, due to be held in summer 2018, to come up with a
progress report regarding the measures they were implementing to safeguard the ongoing survival of the BCF
(Pterapogon kauderni). Based on this report, a decision
would be issued on whether to proceed with a possible
listing of the species in Appendix II at the next CoP.
In a move that was welcomed by the AC, Indonesia
decided not to wait until AC 30 and to presented an initial
report at AC 29 detailing a six-point plan that is already
underway and will continue until 2021:
• availability of, and information on, the Banggai cardinalfish population in its natural habitats and other
• implementation of protection and preservation of the
Banggai cardinalfish and its natural habitats;
• sustainable use and trade of the Banggai cardinalfish;
• improvement of human resources capacity to conserve
and manage the Banggai cardinalfish;
• improvement of conservation governance and;
• implementation of restocking of the Banggai cardinalfish population.
Svein Fosså, president of the European Pet Organiza-
tion and vice president of Ornamental Fish International,
represented the ornamental aquatic industry at AC 29
alongside Marshall Myers, formerly of the Pet Industry
Joint Advisory Council. He reported that the protection
measures include the “setting up of marine protected ar-
eas, while priority management activities include trade
arrangement/coordination, assessment of the applica-
tion of wild harvest quota for Banggai cardinalfish, mon-
itoring of inter-islands trade/
distribution, setting up of an
association, education and
awareness campaign, and
promotion of community
aquaculture. To achieve the
extensive plan, Indonesia is,
however, requesting commit-
ment and pledges from donor
parties and relevant organiza-
tions for economical and prac-
Indonesia was congratu-
lated on its initiative to get
things moving so promptly
and was asked to provide
more data and results over
the coming year, including
details of harvest quotas and
mortalities in transit.
So, as we stand at the mo-
ment, satisfactory progress is
being made on the BCF front.
Should this continue, there is a good possibility that an
Appendix II listing will be avoided at the next CITES CoP.
The freshwater stingray saga continues to plod along
without any significant breakthrough. AC 29 received
no fewer than 1,200 pages of documentation regarding
various aspects of the stingray “story.” However, it con-
cluded that the gaps in the data were “huge,” not least
regarding international trade. It was decided that further
field studies and research are required before the matter
can be taken forward. The scale of captive-breeding proj-
ects in nonrange states, particularly Asia, should also be
given due attention.
Peru announced that it plans to list freshwater sting-
rays in Appendix III, thus joining Colombia and Brazil.
However, it has concerns about the practical implemen-
tation of the process, especially as the matter of Appendix
III listing is giving rise to problems with regard to doc-
umentation, especially concerning imports into the U.S.
These are particularly prominent with the certificates of
origin for captive-bred specimens, as a result of which,
shipments are being retained at border inspection points,
with dire consequences for the fish.
We don’t expect any major announcements on either
the Banggai cardinalfish or South American freshwater
stingrays for some months, while work continues in the
background. As soon as anything is announced, I will, of
course, report it in this column.
ACKOWLEDGEMENT: I would like to thank Svein A. Fosså for representing the industry at CITES, as well as for
keeping me informed on progress.
Promising progress is being made by Indonesia with
regard to the conservation of the Banggai cardinalfish.
AN OVERVIEW OF CITES
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an
international agreement between governments. Its
aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten
Visit PetProductNews.com to read about the latest
chapter unfolding in this year’s anti-trade campaign
in Hawaii and Governor David Ige’s decision impacting the state’s fishery.
These freshwater stingrays
have been captive bred at
an Asian fish farm.