Several freshwater fish species have been added to the CITES Appendix III listing, with effect from January 3.
Brazil has added the zebra plec, Hypancistrus zebra, L46, and all Brazilian populations of the freshwater stingray Potamotrygon spp. Colombia has added the discus ray, Paratrygon aiereba, and the following freshwater stingray species: Potamotrygon constellate, P. magdalenae, P. motoro, P. orbignyi, P. schroederi, P. scobina and P. yepezi.
Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES parties for help in controlling the trade.
The listing means importers will need appropriate CITES paperwork to bring them into the UK and sell them, and it gives the exporting countries more information on the levels of trade in these fish as international trade must now be documented. Appendix III listings do not ban trade.
OATA states on its website: “This still means you will need CITES paperwork if you import them into the UK and sell them, and retailers have a responsibility to ensure that their stock has been imported legally so they should ensure that they have CITES permit numbers on any affected species.”
The zebra plec, which grows to about 6cm, is endemic to Brazil and gets its name from its black and white stripes, resembling the pattern of a zebra. It has been exported in large numbers as it is a popular aquarium fish around the world, but as a result is feared to be vulnerable due to over-collection.
While the commercial trade in Appendix III species remains legal, it becomes more expensive and onerous for importers and exporters.
At the time of writing, Hypancistrus zebra was selling for an average £100-£125 each in some aquatics shops.