Making A Stand Against Cyanide Fishing

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Making a stand against cyanide fishing
7th August 2018

By Sandra Pearce

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) are developing a method to detect illegal cyanide fishing, a banned method in which fish are stunned using diluted cyanide.

Presenting research at the annual FSBI (Fisheries Society of the British Isles) Conference, Cefas scientist Dr Joanna Murray said: “Cyanide fishing has been banned in most exporting countries due to the negative impacts including high fish mortality, damage to coral reefs and human health. 

“Consumers and retailers want to feel confident in their buying choices, however we still lack reliable detection methods. Cefas is working with the ornamental fisheries industry to identify and develop robust and reliable detection methods, which it is hoped will provide another step forward in helping to ensure their suppliers are providing sustainable and legally collected fish.”

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA)’s Dr Tracey King spoke on wild-caught ornamental fish, looking at the benefits of the trade.

She said: “Thousands of people, many of whom live in some of the poorest and remotest parts of the world, depend on the ornamental aquarium trade for their livelihoods. Without the aquarium trade, the effects would be detrimental, not only on such communities, but on the environment which these communities strive to protect and conserve. OATA and its members have long been committed to ensuring that wild caught ornamental fish are caught sustainably and actively support a number of initiatives worldwide so that best practice is followed throughout our industry.”

Recommendations from this initial work will be used to inform future research in the search for a robust detection method.