The National Marine Fisheries Service today listed the Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. According to Ret Talbot’s Good Catch Blog, the listing will not result in any changes to the species in terms of trade in the hobby, but this could change in the future, effectively limiting or prohibiting the possession of this fish, including aquacultured specimens.
The Banggai cardinalfish is one of the most popular ornamental marine fish in the hobby. It came to the aquarium trade in the early 1990s and is currently experiencing declines in the wild, due to overharvesting of the species for the trade, habitat degradation and other factors.
It can be found in the Banggai archipelago of Indonesia and in spite of the capability to captive breed the species, its population in the wild continues to dwindle due to overfishing, disease, and other factors. An aquaculture facility in Thailand has been sending more than 100,000 captive bred Banggai cardinalfish each year to the United States for the trade. The fish is the first species that is widely kept amongst aquarium fish hobbyists to be listed under the ESA.