Banggai Cardinal Added to Endangered List

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Banggai Cardinalfishes in their native habitat. Scott W. Michael

Overharvesting leads to IUCN Red List status.

The Banggai Cardinalfish, Pterapogon kauderni, is among the new additions to the 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Pterapogon kauderni has been classified as endangered in the 2007 Red List because its small population has suffered dramatic declines in recent years due to over-collecting for the aquarium trade.

Earlier this year, the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) rejected a decision by the United States to protect Pterapogon kauderni on Appendix II of CITES.

CITES claimed that recent evidence showed that the trade in the species appeared to be sustainable and that the species could be exploited under proper management, making listing under a CITES Appendix unnecessary. (See CITES rejects proposal to protect Banggai cardinal)

Unlike CITES, which serves to prevent or control trade in endangered species, the listing of Pterapogon kauderni on the IUCN Red List will have little or no impact upon the trade.


[edit] The Red List

The World Conservation Union IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is produced annually and grades the threat of species that have been evaluated to its assessment criteria.

Species are classified as extinct (EX), extinct in the wild (EW), critically endangered (CR), endangered (EN), vulnerable (VU), lower risk/conservation dependent (LR/CD), near threatened (NT), least concern (LC) or when inconclusive data is available, data deficient (DD), depending on the results of assessments.

The current Red List includes assessment data on 2346 species of freshwater ray-finned fishes, 258 marine ray-finned fishes and 591 sharks and rays.

Of these, 29 marine fish were assessed in 2007, along with 72 sharks and rays, and 189 ray-finned freshwater fishes.

[edit] Critically Endangered

Nine species of freshwater fish assessed this year were classified as criticially endangered in the 2007 Red List: Austrolebias cinereus, Barbus erubescens, Barbus sp. nov. 'Banhine', Clarias cavernicola, Kneria sp. nov. 'South Africa', Neolebias lozii, Oreochromis mortimeri, Pseudobarbus burchelli and Tilapia guinasana.

16 freshwater fish species assessed in 2007 were classified as endangered: Austroglanis barnardi, Barbus andrewi, Barbus serra, Barbus treurensis, Barbus trevelyani, Chetia brevis, Chiloglanis bifurcus, Labeo seeberi, Pseudobarbus afer, Pseudobarbus asper, Pseudobarbus burgi, Pseudobarbus phlegethon, Pseudobarbus quathlambae, Sandelia bainsii, Serranochromis meridianus and Silhouettea sibayi.

[edit] "Vulnerable" Listings

Around eight other freshwater fishes assessed again this year were found to be vulnerable: Aplocheilichthys sp. nov. 'Rovuma', Austroglanis gilli, Barbus amatolicus, Barbus calidus, Barbus motebensis, Barbus sp. nov. 'Chimanimani', Labeobarbus capensis, Oreochromis andersonii and Oreochromis macrochir.

The Ganges shark, Glyphis gangeticus, and the Largetooth sawfish, Pristis perotteti, were added to the critically endangered category following their last assessments in 2001.

[edit] Trade Controlled, Not Banned

Proponents of a CITES listing of the Banggai Cardinal on Appendix II argued that it have still allowed international trade, but shipments must include an export permit from the country of origin issued based on a finding of non-detriment and legal acquisition. In addition, this listing could help promote expansion of captive breeding as an alternative to wild harvest.

Ironically, this species is exceptionally easy to breed in home aquarium and has been called "the saltwater guppy" for its simple propagation requirements.

Contributed by Matt Clarke