US looks to ban imports, exports of a tropical fish threatened by aquarium trade

Aug 16, 2023, 9:49 AM

The federal government is looking to ban importation and exportation of a species of a tropical fish that conservation groups have long said is exploited by the pet trade.

The fish is the Banggai cardinalfish, a small striped saltwater fish native to Indonesia. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration listed the species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2016, saying that the main threats to the fish included harvest for ornamental aquariums.

The agency proposed on Tuesday to apply prohibitions under the Endangered Species Act that would make it unlawful to import or export the species in the United States. The proposal followed a 2021 petition from conservation groups that said the fish needs the ban to have a chance at survival.

The U.S. imports an average of 120,000 of the fish every year, members of the groups said Wednesday. The species have declined in number by as much as 90% since the 1990s because of exploitation in the aquarium trade, they said.

“Today’s proposal is the first step in eliminating the United States as a destination for Banggai cardinalfish and sending a clear signal to Indonesia that it must do more to conserve the species and its habitat,” D.J. Schubert, a wildlife biologist at the Animal Welfare Institute.

The Banggai cardinalfish is among numerous species caught with the intention of adorning home aquariums and reef tanks in places such as offices and restaurants. The little fish is native only to the Banggai Archipelago in Indonesia.

Critics of the tropical fish trade at large have described it as notoriously difficult to track and regulate, and call it a major contributor to the decline of some jeopardized species. Many of the fish don’t survive from capture to exportation.

NOAA officials said in its proposal to ban the Banggai cardinalfish trade that the agency’s goal is “to prevent further reduction of existing wild populations of” the fish species. The agency also said the species suffers from lack of protections and regulations in international trade.

NOAA said it will solicit public comments on its proposal and might hold a public hearing before a final ruling is made.

United States News

Rock Creek Forest Elementary School students exit a diesel bus before attending school, Friday, Feb...

Associated Press

Electric school buses finally make headway, but hurdles still stand

The first electric school buses in the United States began running a decade ago in three school districts in California, providing a ride that was much less noisy, smelly and dirty than the diesel buses kids and parents were used to. Yet despite the availability of the technology all these years, fewer than one percent […]

1 hour ago

A calendar shows the month of February, including leap day, Feb. 29, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in S...

Associated Press

Have a look at the whos, whats and whens of leap year through time

NEW YORK (AP) — Leap year. It’s a delight for the calendar and math nerds among us. So how did it all begin and why? Have a look at some of the numbers, history and lore behind the (not quite) every four year phenom that adds a 29th day to February. BY THE NUMBERS The […]

11 hours ago

FILE - Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim greets supporters outside Central High School on the day of the r...

Associated Press

Fatigue and frustration as final do-over mayoral election looms in Connecticut’s largest city

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — It’s been nearly four months since a judge tossed out the results of a Democratic mayoral primary in Connecticut’s largest city due to allegations of ballot stuffing, sending voters repeatedly back to the polls and thrusting Bridgeport into an unflattering national spotlight. Many frustrated local voters say they just want it […]

11 hours ago

Homes are seen on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in the southwest Portland, Ore., suburb of Beaverton. Th...

Associated Press

A housing shortage is testing Oregon’s pioneering land use law. Lawmakers are poised to tweak it

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A severe lack of affordable housing has prompted Oregon lawmakers to consider chipping away at a 1970s law that made the state a national leader in leveraging land use policy to prevent suburban sprawl and conserve nature and agriculture. The so-called urban growth boundary, a sacred cow of Oregon’s liberal politics, […]

11 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump hugs and kisses the American flag a...

Associated Press

Trump calls himself a ‘proud political dissident’ in CPAC speech

In a CPAC speech, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of the future if President Joe Biden wins again as the two prepare for a rematch.

15 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after spea...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins South Carolina GOP primary, beating Nikki Haley in her home state

Trump has now swept every contest that counted for Republican delegates, with wins already in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.


Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

US looks to ban imports, exports of a tropical fish threatened by aquarium trade