|Town/Region||Banggai Islands, Sulawesi|
|Categories||Communities, Fishes, Marine|
|Date||14 Aug 2001|
After their initial discovery in 1920, the Banggai cardinalfish was all but forgotten by Western scientists. These unusual fishes, thought to be endemic to the Banggai Islands of Sulawesi, have now reappeared, traded in large, presumably unsustainable numbers by the ornamental fish industry. Their popularity amongst aquarists is due in large part to their attractive appearance and unusual reproduction - this fish is the only known marine species to mouthbrood hatched young.
Few biological studies and no trade studies have ever been carried out on these fishes. The project seeks to assess current exploitation levels of the cardinalfish, and to document their effects on wild populations, with the goal of informing management plans appropriate for the species, its associated reef and seagrass habitats and the local communities dependent in its trade.
Conservation within the archipelago is particularly important given its location within the biogeographic province of Wallacea, one of the most biodiverse areas on Earth. The Banggai cardinalfish is well placed to act as the region's flagship species, motivating local and international conservation action while raising awareness of larger issues related to the international aquarium fish trade.