BORIS Theses

BORIS Theses
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The marine ornamental fish trade in Switzerland and Europe

Biondo, Monica Virginia (2019). The marine ornamental fish trade in Switzerland and Europe. (Thesis). Universität Bern, Bern

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Abstract

Coral reef ecosystems are one of the most biologically rich and diverse environments on the planet. Unfortunately, coral reefs are at risk from several threats such as global warming and ocean acidification (Hughes et al., 2017; Gattuso et al., 2014; Hoegh-Guldberg, 2007), and also from overexploitation, for example, by trade (Baillie et al., 2004). The trade in marine ornamental fishes originated in the 1930s with a few coral reef fishes being caught to be kept in aquariums. Today, about 40 million specimens are traded annually and the commerce expands over at least 50 exporting countries from (mainly) South East Asia, with most importing countries situated in the Western Hemisphere. This trade involves more than half the known 4,000 species of coral reef fishes (Rhyne et al., 2017), expands worldwide, and is worth billions of US$ each year (Leal et al., 2015; Dee et al., 2014; Monticini, 2010; Smith et al., 2008; Wabnitz et al., 2003). Historically, individual attempts have been conducted to monitor trade, although no global monitoring systems have emerged. This dissertation focuses on the marine ornamental fish trade as well as aspects of its management in Switzerland, Europe and globally, along with impacts on species and the environment. The monitoring of this trade is challenging because so many species and specimens are involved, and the supply chain, from wild-capture to the aquarium holder, is also very extensive (Rhyne et al., 2017; Wabnitz et al., 2003). Almost no relevant fish species breeds in captivity (Sweet, 2017; Penning et al., 2009), and therefore supply originates from wild sources, which are coral reefs. Furthermore, there are concerns amongst scientists regarding the sustainability of this trade, due to the high mortality of specimens in the supply chain (Stevens et al., 2017; Vagelli, 2011; Wabnitz et al., 2003). The purpose of this study was to review the existing data on the marine ornamental fish trade to Switzerland and Europe as well as its global implication. The first study examined Switzerland's role in the European and the global marine aquarium trade, and provided basic information on numbers of specimens traded and their diversity by using data from customs documents from 2009. The second and third studies used electronic data from the European Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) for the years 2014 to 2017 for Switzerland and the European Union (EU). TRACES is in use for disease prevention where animal and plants or their products are imported to Europe. This data produced meaningful information for imports to Switzerland and the EU, although TRACES is not specifically created to monitor the marine ornamental fish trade. It was possible to yield useful information on the volumes, diversity and trends in number of fish specimens traded. These studies offered tangible ideas on how to adapt the TRACES to adequately collect species data.

Item Type: Thesis
Dissertation Type: Cumulative
Date of Defense: 12 March 2019
Subjects: 500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
Institute / Center: 08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
Depositing User: Editor Hammer Igor
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2019 09:24
Last Modified: 31 Dec 2019 05:59
URI: https://boristheses.unibe.ch/id/eprint/1194

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