Rich Asians threaten high-value fish: experts

Jan 24, 2012
This file photo shows groupers displayed at a fresh food market. The growing ranks of wealthy Asians and their increasing appetite for more expensive fish are threatening stocks, potentially causing wider environmental damage, experts at a UN conference said on Tuesday.

The growing ranks of wealthy Asians and their increasing appetite for more expensive fish are threatening stocks, potentially causing wider environmental damage, experts at a UN conference said on Tuesday.

As became more prosperous, they prefer to eat more "high-value" species, forcing fishermen to catch more of them even if it means using environmentally harmful and illegal methods, they said.

"Increased wealth, especially in Asia," had raised demand for more expensive fish like certain groupers and tunas, said Jackie Alder, head of the marine coastal office of the UN Environment Programme.

"They are no longer satisfied with anchovies," she told reporters on the sidelines of a UN conference on oceans in the Philippine capital.

She warned that fish production had stabilised at 80 million tonnes in the 1980s and scientists believed that it would not go any higher.

"There is no doubt that changing lifestyles and are having an effect on resources," said Jerker Tamelander, head of the UN Environment Programme's coral reef unit.

He cited the case of live groupers which are in such demand in Asia that use cyanide to stun them and catch them alive, even if this kills other fish and harms .

Even then, many of these groupers die during transport across Asia, he warned.

"There is high mortality, high transport costs but also high returns."

Depleting the stocks of high-value fish could also upset the balance of nature in coral reefs, possibly leading to their degradation, he added.

Explore further: Stanford researchers rethink 'natural' habitat for wildlife

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Coral 'network' can protect Asia-Pac fish stocks

Feb 22, 2011

An international scientific team has shown that strong links between the corals reefs of the south China sea, West Pacific and Coral Triangle hold the key to preserving fish and marine resources in the Asia-Pacific ...

Distressed damsels stress coral reefs

May 26, 2010

Damselfish are killing head corals and adding stress to Caribbean coral reefs, which are already in desperately poor condition from global climate change, coral diseases, hurricanes, pollution, and overfishing. Restoring ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Apr 18, 2014

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.