- High demand for wild-caught reef fish from Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia to stock upscale restaurants in East Asia could be driving overfishing and depletion of fish stocks, export trends indicate.
- To ease the strain on wild fish populations, countries started adopting fish-farming practices in which they raise wild-caught grouper species in pens — a practice that is far from sustainable, a marine expert says.
- Government attempts to regulate the trade by imposing size limits and closed fishing seasons have largely fallen short, experts say.
- The COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest in Hong Kong, the prime market for the live reef food fish trade, have driven demand down, providing a window to aid the recovery of species like the leopard coral trout.
READ MORE: Gray areas and weak policies mar lucrative Asian trade in live reef fish (mongabay.com)