The Live Fish Trade and the Coral Triangle

Every year $1 billion dollars worth of reef fish are exported -- alive -- from The Coral Triangle to Hong Kong.

The majority of these fish come from remote islands in Indonesia where Chinese companies have encouraged local fishermen to use potassium cyanide in order to increase their catch.


The fish are held in huge nets underwater before being shipped to holding facilities on hub islands such as Bali and Sulawesi. Then begins their journey; they are flown on to Hong Kong where they are unpacked, put in the back of trucks and taken to wet fish markets, they are then bought and taken to live fish restaurants where they wait in tanks until a customer chooses them -- by which stage they can sell for a hundred times what the fisherman was originally paid.


The trade originally concentrated on Napolean Wrasse which are now almost extinct, now it has moved on to focus on red spotted grouper, believed by the Chinese to bring good luck. The reality is that the trade, in it's current state, brings nothing but huge environmental destruction and a trail of human bodies in its wake.

There are alternatives, Pak Heru, who works closely with WWF, runs a live fish export company that refuses to accept fish caught with cyanide. Pak Heru is concerned for both the future of his industry and the future of The Coral Triangle's oceans.


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