Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Environmental Studies Program


Loren E. McClenachan

Second Advisor

Travis Reynolds

Third Advisor

F. Russell Cole


The marine aquarium trade is a high-value global commercial industry that involves harvesting fishes, corals and invertebrates primarily from coral reefs for ornamental use in aquaria. Sustainability of the trade has been questioned, as management has not kept pace with the rapid increase in international trade. This research first reviews different mechanisms for managing the global marine aquarium trade, both government and market-based, and concludes that increased quantity and quality of management is crucial for the sustainability of the trade. Next, this research uses trade data to map the trade of extinction prone species and examines international, regional and national management structures for extinction-prone species. While a relatively small number of species are extinction-prone, these species experience weak management. The lack of data regarding the trade is also of considerable concern. Lastly, this study assesses a proposal for the orange clownfish, Amphiprion percula, to be listed under the United States Endangered Species Act, investigating applicable precedents and potential trade outcomes of this listing. It is likely that listing this species would benefit from listing, but effects on collectors and the global markets are unknown.


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aquariums, aquaria, sustainability

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