The Banggai cardinalfish (scientific name: Pterapogon kauderni) is found only at selected sites around the coasts off33 islands in the Banggai Archipelago, an island group in Indonesia. This endemic marine fish is classified as endangered on the IUCN Red list.
The population of Banggai cardinalfish is threatened by overexploitation for the aquarium trade. As many as 100,000 fishes may be caught from the islands monthly, before being shipped to Bali and North Sulawesi to be sold to international exporters. A study of the Banggai cardinalfish fishery further revealed that out of the fish’s total population of2,200,000, at least 1,000,000 fishes were caught in 2007. Another threat to the Banggai cardinalfish habitat destruction as a result of the illegal use of dynamite and cyanide in the fishing of other species.
The only measure taken to conserve Banggai cardinalfish in the Banggai Archipelago is the Banggai Conservation Project. Ongoing since 2004, it a collaboration between the Indonesian non-governmental organisation, Yayasan Pemerhati Linkungan, and the New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences. The project aims to create marine protected areas in two zones within the Banggai archipelago. Despite having the approval of the local government and the support of local communities, more funding is still required to put this project into action.