The Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) has been a staple of the marine aquarium hobby for many years. It is also been well known that these fish have been under threat due to unethical collections of wild specimens for the aquarium trade.
That being said, the aquarium community was quick to bring awareness to this and thanks to aquaculture efforts almost all Banggai Cardinalfish that are in the hobby are aquacultured.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recently proposed 4(d) rule NOAA-NMFS-2023-0099 which would ban the import and export of Banggai Cardinalfish into the United States regardless of its source.
What this means is these fish would no longer be available, even though those being imported into the U.S. are almost exclusively aquacultured.
This can drastically affect not only the hobby but the industry as these fish are not only beautiful but hearty and do will with other easy to keep fish.
What can you do?
Send a letter to NOAA expressing your belief that the proposed 4(d) rule should not be adopted. To submit your comments, click here and fill in the required information along with your comments.
Please share this with this with others in the hobby and industry that believe in the conservation of this fish by encouraging sustainable harvest and aquaculture.
You can use the suggested comment below as a template:
"I oppose the proposed rule NOAA–NMFS–2023–0099, which would ban trade in the Banggai cardinalfish.
The Banggai cardinalfish in the U.S. come from aquaculture, so they do not put any pressure on the wild population.
NOAA appears to have presented the data on the Banggai cardinalfish very selectively, ignoring a mountain of information demonstrating that the current trade in this species, and the current management plan for the native fish, are producing positive conservation outcomes.
NOAA should hold a public hearing on this proposed rule to ensure that all voices are heard.
The CITES Animals Committee and the CITES Secretariat were deeply engaged with the Indonesian government on the development and implementation of their Banggai cardinalfish management plan; a plan which appears to be having the desired outcomes.
The CITES Animals Committee also debated the listing of the Banggai cardinalfish on several occasions, ultimately concluding that the management plan was robust and that the species did not require a CITES listing.
The marine aquarium community recognized the challenges facing the Banggai cardinalfish over a decade ago and established captive breeding programs. Do not destroy all that work and progress.
An honest assessment of the science and trade data concerning the Banggai cardinalfish should have led NOAA to conclude that the species should not be listed on the ESA at all. There is no justification for the proposed 4(d) rule banning trade in the species and such a rule will undoubtedly harm its conservation.
Please abandon this proposed 4(d) rule in favor of one that protects the species by encouraging trade in sustainably raised and collected specimens."