Banggai Cardinalfish and The Endangered Species Act

Collection of Banggai Cardinals for the aquarium trade is the major driver for their harvest. These fish have a extremely limited geographic range of about 5,500 km² and small wild population size estimated at 2.4 million individuals. These cardinalfish are composed of pockets of individual populations concentrated around the shallows small and large islands within the Banggai Archipelago.  A small population also occurs off Central Sulawesi, within Luwuk harbor. One additional population has become established in the Lembeh Strait (North Sulawesi), 400 km north of the natural area of the species distribution. They live in very shallow water, and are plodding swimmers that are easily herded out of protective cover. This combination of characteristics, coupled with high demand as a desirable ornamental species, makes them vulnerable to overharvest.  Due
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