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Aquarium Trade Supply-Chain Losses of Marine Invertebrates Originating from Papua New Guinea

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  • PNG National Fisheries Authority
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Abstract and Figures

A major difficulty in managing live organism wildlife trade is often the reliance on trade data to monitor exploitation of wild populations. Harvested organisms that die or are discarded before a point of sale are regularly not reported. For the global marine aquarium trade, identifying supply-chain losses is necessary to more accurately assess exploitation from trade data. We examined quality control rejections and mortality of marine invertebrates (Asteroidea, Gastropoda, Malacostraca, Ophiuroidea) moving through the Papua New Guinea marine aquarium supply-chain, from fisher to importer. Utilizing catch invoices and exporter mortality records we determined that, over a 160 day period, 38.6% of the total invertebrate catch (n = 13,299 individuals) was lost before export. Supply-chain losses were divided among invertebrates rejected in the quality control process (11.5%) and mortality of the accepted catch in transit to, and during holding at, an export facility (30.6%). A further 0.3% died during international transit to importers. We quantified supply-chain losses for the ten most fished species which accounted for 96.4% of the catch. Quality control rejections (n = 1533) were primarily explained by rejections of oversized invertebrates (83.2% of rejections). We suggest that enforceable size limits on species prone to size-based rejections and elimination of village-based holding of invertebrates would reduce losses along the Papua New Guinea supply-chain. This case study underscores that low mortality during international transit may mask large losses along supply-chains prior to export and exemplifies the limitations of trade data to accurately monitor exploitation.
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Environmental Management (2018) 61:661670
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-018-1006-9
Aquarium Trade Supply-Chain Losses of Marine Invertebrates
Originating from Papua New Guinea
Thane A. Militz 1Jeff Kinch2Paul C. Southgate1
Received: 10 August 2017 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published online: 14 February 2018
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
Abstract
A major difculty in managing live organism wildlife trade is often the reliance on trade data to monitor exploitation of wild
populations. Harvested organisms that die or are discarded before a point of sale are regularly not reported. For the global
marine aquarium trade, identifying supply-chain losses is necessary to more accurately assess exploitation from trade data.
We examined quality control rejections and mortality of marine invertebrates (Asteroidea, Gastropoda, Malacostraca,
Ophiuroidea) moving through the Papua New Guinea marine aquarium supply-chain, from sher to importer. Utilizing catch
invoices and exporter mortality records we determined that, over a 160 day period, 38.6% of the total invertebrate catch (n=
13,299 individuals) was lost before export. Supply-chain losses were divided among invertebrates rejected in the quality
control process (11.5%) and mortality of the accepted catch in transit to, and during holding at, an export facility (30.6%). A
further 0.3% died during international transit to importers. We quantied supply-chain losses for the ten most shed species
which accounted for 96.4% of the catch. Quality control rejections (n=1533) were primarily explained by rejections of
oversized invertebrates (83.2% of rejections). We suggest that enforceable size limits on species prone to size-based
rejections and elimination of village-based holding of invertebrates would reduce losses along the Papua New Guinea
supply-chain. This case study underscores that low mortality during international transit may mask large losses along supply-
chains prior to export and exemplies the limitations of trade data to accurately monitor exploitation.
Keywords Coral reefs Aquarium shery Mortality Quality control Wildlife trade Management
Introduction
Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are declining globally
because of anthropogenic stressors, human population
growth, and climate change (Hughes et al. 2003; Bellwood
et al. 2004; Rudel et al. 2009). Exploitation of ecosystems
for live organism wildlife trade is a contentious issue that
has engendered social conict between resource
stakeholders worldwide (Dawes 2003; Douglas and Alie
2014; Militz and Foale 2017). Sustainably managed wildlife
trade can provide income for economically marginalized
communities (Ferse et al. 2013; Madduppa et al. 2014;
Schwerdtner Máñez et al. 2014), but unsustainable exploi-
tation can threaten conservation of those wild populations
(Blundell and Mascia 2005; Nijman 2010; Thornhill 2012).
The marine aquarium trade is responsible for the trans-
location of millions of marine organisms from their natural
habitats to public and private aquaria worldwide (Wabnitz
et al. 2003; Biondo 2017; Rhyne et al. 2017). Most
organisms sourced for the trade originate from the species-
rich coral reefs of the Indo-Pacic region and a large
diversity of sh and invertebrate species are exploited
(Wabnitz et al. 2003; Leal et al. 2017; Rhyne et al. 2017).
Multiple sources of data can be used to monitor the inter-
national trade in marine aquarium organisms (e.g., Wabnitz
et al. 2003; Leal et al. 2017; Biondo 2017; Mies et al. 2017;
Rhyne et al. 2017), but there are few published accounts on
direct levels of exploitation (e.g., Rhyne et al. 2009; Wil-
liams et al. 2009; Okemwa et al. 2016). In many cases, this
*Thane A. Militz
tmilitz@usc.edu.au
1Australian Centre for Pacic Islands Research and Faculty of
Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the
Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Australia
2National Fisheries College, National Fisheries Authority,
Kavieng, Papua New Guinea
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article
(https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-018-1006-9) contains supplementary
material, which is available to authorized users.
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... For the developing marine aquarium industry, shortlists of allowed species and morphs may be more advantageous than imposing bans, as bans are reactionary management that may come too late to avoid depletion of naturally rare taxa (Branch et al., 2013). Shortlists of allowed species and morphs can be coupled with collection limits for further management (Saleem and Islam, 2008;Dee et al., 2014), but trade limits are unlikely to be effective given that disparities between collection and trade can be substantial (Militz et al., 2016a(Militz et al., , 2018a. Alternatively, spatially restricting extractive exploitation, as practiced in the PNG fishery previously (Militz et al., 2016a(Militz et al., , 2018a(Militz et al., , 2018b, or the establishment of marine reserves could limit the spatial extent over which opportunistic exploitation occurs (Branch et al., 2013). ...
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