Reef Fishes of Hong Kong

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Trouble on the reef: the imperative for managing vulnerable and valuable fisheries

The famous Humphead wrasse , Cheilinus undulatus , although probably never common here, has now all but disappeared from our shores.

Reef Fishes of Hong Kong

Three decades ago, of 8 species of grouper considered to be locally abundant, most are rare today. These losses and declines reflect their vulnerable nature; they are long-lived, slow-growing and little capable of withstanding the various pressures exerted by a burgeoning coastal community Sadovy and Cornish, Indeed, given that such species are often the first to respond to over-fishing, they may represent good indicators of the fishery condition of local reefs.

This diverse fish fauna may now be facing threats of yet another kind; those posed by introductions. Not only is there little evidence that such releases make any difference to an unmanaged recipient fishery, they often involve imported fishes, thereby introducing species, genotypes or diseases not natural to the release area.

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Approaches to maintaining our rich and beautiful reef fish fauna would be to protect small areas of coastal waters and to prohibit imported marine introductions. Surely it is inconsistent that, while hunting is not permitted in country parks, fishing is permitted in marine parks? Such protected areas can also improve surrounding fished areas by emigration of fish and movements of eggs and larvae out of the reserve area.

Cornish N. By appreciating and understanding the richness of the fish fauna along local shores, the better we are placed to recognize depletions and prevent losses.

Report warns of dire future for Coral Triangle reef fish

Chan W. Farmed fish which was usually fed by formulated pellet or trash fish was not likely the source of toxins. Fish commonly involved in CFP from to 12 June Ciguatoxins bioaccumulate up the food chain, the larger the fish the higher the concentration of ciguatoxins. The fish involved in CFP is usually greater than 2 kg 3 catties but occasionally fish less than this weight had also been reported. Source tracing revealed that the most frequently at-risk contaminated fishing grounds are the Nansha Island, South Pacific and Hainan Island.

Ciguatoxins Ciguatoxins are a group of heat-stable and fat-soluble compounds produced by the marine plankton Gambierdiscus toxicus. Key Points to Note: CFP is the most common form of neurotoxin poisoning associated with the consumption of coral reef fish in Hong Kong. Fish containing ciguatoxins cannot be identified by its appearance, taste, texture or smell.

Ciguatoxin Poisoning and Coral Reef Fish

The larger the coral reef fish, the more likely ciguatoxins may be present and at higher concentration. Advice to the Public Consume less coral reef fishes in terms of frequency and the amount consumed in each meal.

  • 22 new species on Hong Kong reefs.

Avoid eating the head, viscera, skin, and roe of coral reef fish which usually have higher concentration of toxins. Or that fishers use compressor engines to pump air through hose pipes, often going metres and beyond in search of their ever-dwindling catch.


Many are killed or crippled by decompression sickness. The LRFFT offers virtually no sustainable options however, due to byzantine and secretive supply chains and aggressive monopolies. The study includes a number of recommendations for government to play its part by including stronger regulations to crack down on the rampant illegal trade. Traders and retailers meanwhile are encouraged to make traceability a priority.

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Reef Fishes of Hong Kong Reef Fishes of Hong Kong
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Reef Fishes of Hong Kong Reef Fishes of Hong Kong
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Reef Fishes of Hong Kong

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