Main issues facing the Live Reef Food Fish Trade
- overfishing and resulting depletion of resources that are in many cases used in other subsistence or commercial fisheries;
- destruction of corals and mortality of non-target fish when using cyanide for capture;
- fishing of spawning aggregations for some target species, causing population depletion;
- poor capture and handling practices leading to high mortality of captured fish before they reach the market. t;
- social issues resulting mostly from conflicts regarding access to fish and prices paid;
- impacts of capture and “growing-out” of immature and undersize wild-caught fish, including lessening the ability of fish stocks to replenish through future reproduction by these immature fiish; and
- that many non-target fish used as food in local communities are caught to feed live reef food fish during grow-out.
Developing an International Standard
The Live Reef Food Fish Trade has the potential to "add value" to a region's reef fish resources if those resource are responsibly exploited.
Attaining long-term benefits from a LRFF fishery requires responsible development, careful and specific management and strict enforcement to reduce potentially negative social and environmental impacts.
The Standard development process had the support of the 21 member economies of APEC and was developed through a multi-stakeholder process involving industry, national governments, non-government organisations, fishing communities, the academic community.
What is the International Standard?
The Standard is a comprehensive reference tool covering all aspects of the trade in live reef food fish. It aims to provide guidance to all participants and managers on:
- management best practices, including assessment, monitoring, control and enforcement;
- operational best practices with respect to targeting and catching fish, and management and maintenance of fish health;
- handling, holding and transportation best-practices for maintaining the quality and the condition of live fish.
The Standard has been divided into 3 parts dealing with the:
- Capture of Wild Live Reef Food Fish
- Live Reef Food Fish Aquaculture
- Trading and Consumption of Live Reef Food Fish
The 3 parts of the Standard are each comprised of a series of Requirements—overview statements that describe the preferred conditions under which a LRFF fishery should operate in countries that supply fish (either from the wild or through aquaculture), and in countries that consume live fish.
Who Are The Intended Users?
The Standard is intended for use by all persons and organisations engaged in the trade in live reef fish including: fishers, traders, buyers, exporters, importers, wholesalers and retailers as well as relevant government departments such as fisheries and aquaculture, environment and trade Chain of Custody.
Although this International Standard is supported by APEC and its 21 member economies, adoption and incorporation of the elements of the Standard into the operation and management of a country's live reef food fish fishery is completely VOLUNTARY.
A first draft
The International Standard for the Trade in Live Reef Food Fish is a first draft only. It is envisaged that it will be reviewed and revised periodically in response to feedback from practitioners and policymakers, as a result of field based applications, or as the need arises.