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Understanding Markets Crucial to Wildlife Conservation

WorldFish works on more than just fish.  In some parts of the world, capture and trade of other aquatic wildlife supports people’s livelihoods, including those of people who are mostly fishers and fish-traders.  Work conducted on the water-snake trade  on Tonle Sap in Cambodia by WorldFish partners at the University of East Anglia, led by Dr Sharon Brooks and involving WorldFish scientist Eddie Allison, has recently been highlighted in the UK Natural Environment Research Council’s newsletter: Planet Earth Online - Environmental Research News The world’s largest snake harvest, conducted seasonally by small-scale fishers using their normal fishing gear,  is mostly used to feed farmed crocodiles, themselves sold for luxury leather goods.  It provides an important source of income for part of the year when fish are not available but conservation groups are talking about a ban in reaction to the sheer size of the harvest – between 2 and 12 million snakes per year.  The article argues that a ban may not be effective or necessary, and that regulation of the market in crocodile products may be sufficient to ensure sustainable harvests of snakes.