Thursday, January 25, 2007

Increasing appetite for live fish stripping Asian reefs bare

Increasing appetite for live fish stripping Asian reefs bareThe Associated PressPublished: January 23, 2007KUDAT, Malaysia: The rising demand for live reef fish by seafood-hungry diners in Greater China has for the first time been shown to have decimated endangered species around Asia, a study released Wednesday said.Researchers studying the trade in Malaysia, formerly home to some of Asia'smost abundant coastal reefs, found that catches of some grouper species andthe Napoleon wrasse fell by as much as 99 percent between 1995 to 2003, aperiod coinciding with the rapid economic growth of countries where suchexotic fish are a delicacy."The removal of these large, predatory fish might upset the delicate balanceof the coral reef ecosystem," said Helen Scales, who co-authored the studyfor the Swiss-based World Conservation Union, appearing in the onlineedition of Proceedings of The Royal Societies, a respected scientificjournal."With all the threats the reefs already face, these fishing practices takeus one step closer to losing these reefs," Scales said.

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