Identification Guide To Live Reef Fish in Hong Kong’s Wet Markets

Live reef food fish (LRFF) are a staple of nearly every Hong Kong family’s diet. But do you know that threatened species and juvenile fish that have not had a chance to reproduce are commonly found in wet markets in Hong Kong?

Do you know the impact of your fish choice could result in a world without fish?

Learn more

About
Hong Kong’s Wet Markets

In 2017, 41 commonly seen live reef food fish species were identified in Hong Kong’s wet markets. These included 7 threatened* species (5 vulnerable and 2 endangered) and 17 near threatened species.

The remaining 17 species have not been assessed. This means we don’t know if the fish populations are at a healthy level. Overall, the increasing demand for these fishes has been driving a decrease in their populations, so stop, think and take action before your next visit to the wet markets.

To help you buy the right fish we have developed an Identification Guide to Live Reef Food Fish in Hong Kong’s Wet Market (hyperlinked) for you.1


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What can you do when buying fish at a wet market?

1

Don’t buy the AVOID species listed in our website and the WWF Seafood Guide, such as shark and humphead wrasse, and more!

2

Ask your vendor: What is the species? Is it farmed or wild-caught? Where does it come from? With such information, you can use the WWF seafood guide to verify if the species is recommended or avoided.

3

Don’t buy threatened species such as Hong Kong grouper, squaretail coralgrouper, leopard coralgrouper and more!

4

Don’t buy juvenile fish. You can tell if a fish is juvenile by the length of the fish in the Identification Guide to Live Reef Food Fish in Hong Kong’s Wet Markets. Eating juvenile or young fish means you are depleting their populations before they can reproduce.

  • DON'T EAT JUVENILES
  • Ask your vendor questions
  • Don't buy AVOID species

Identification Guide To Live Reef Fish in Hong Kong’s Wet Markets


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The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Glossary

Extinct (EX) – Species doesn’t exist anymore
Extinct in the Wild (EW) - Known only to survive in captivity
Critically Endangered (CR) - Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild
Endangered (EN) – Very high risk of extinction in the wild
Vulnerable (VU) - High risk of endangerment in the wild
Near Threatened (NT) - Likely to become endangered in the near future
Least Concern (LC) - Lowest risk. Widespread and abundant
Data Deficient (DD) – Lacking data on abundance or distribution
Not Evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria


What is IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is a well-known assessment systems for classifying the probability of extinction of plants, animals, and other organisms in the world.

  • Not Evaluated (NE)
  • Data Deficient (DD)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)

WWF Seafood Guide Recommendations Glossary

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Seafood comes from well-managed fisheries where seafood is caught or farmed in an eco-friendly way, the preferred choice for consumption.

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Seafood comes from fisheries that are at risk of becoming unsustainable. Only consume this seafood occasionally.

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Seafood comes from unsustainable fisheries, and is over-exploited, caught or farmed in an eco-unfriendly way. Avoid consuming seafood from this category.

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Lates calcarifer
Indo-West Pacific

Barramundi

Not Assessed
Length
60 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Girella punctata
Northwest Pacific

Black nibbler

Not Assessed
Length
25 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Acanthopagrus schlegelii
Northwest Pacific

Blackhead seabream

Not Assessed
Length
10 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Scarus ghobban
Indo-Pacific

Blue-barred parrotfish

Not Assessed
Length
Unknown
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Epinephelus fuscoguttatus
Indo-Pacific

Brown-marbled grouper

Avoid
Length
57 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
nt
Epinephelus polyphekadion
Indo-Pacific

Camouflage grouper

Avoid
Length
27 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
nt
Cephalopholis boenak
Indo-West Pacific

Chocolate Hind

Not Assessed
Length
12 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Sebastiscus marmoratus
Western Pacific

Common rockfish

Not Assessed
Length
6 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Lateolabrax japonicus
Western Pacific

Common sea bass

Not Assessed
Length
50 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Epinephelus corallicola
Western Pacific

Coral grouper

Not Assessed
Length
29 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
dd
Plectorhinchus cinctus
Indo-West Pacific

Crescent sweetlips

Not Assessed
Length
Unknown
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Epinephelus bleekeri
Indo-West Pacific

Duskytail grouper

Avoid
Length
36 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
nt
Monacanthus chinensis
Indo-Pacific

Fan-bellied leather jacket

Not Assessed
Length
Unknown
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Mugil cephalus
Coastal water of tropical, subtropical and temperate zones of all oceans

Flathead grey mullet

Think Twice
Length
35 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Sparus aurata
Eastern Pacific

Gilt-head bream

Not Assessed
Length
33 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Siganus punctatus
Western Pacific

Goldspotted spinefoot

Not Assessed
Length
Unknown
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Epinephelus maculatus
Pacific

Highfin grouper

Not Assessed
Length
31 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Epinephelus akaara
Northwest Pacific

Hong Kong grouper

Avoid
Length
23 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
en
Cromileptes altivelis
Indo-West Pacific

Humpback grouper

Avoid
Length
35 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
vu
Terapon jarbua
Indo-Pacific

Jarbua terapon

Not Assessed
Length
15 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Plectropomus leopardus
Western Pacific

Leopard coralgrouper

Avoid - SE AsiaOK - QLD, Australia
Length
20 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
nt
Epinephelus quoyanus
Western Pacific

Longfin grouper

Not Assessed
Length
20 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Lutjanus malabaricus
Indo-West Pacific

Malabar blood snapper

Not Assessed
Length
53 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Lutjanus argentimaculatus
Indo-West Pacific

Mangrove red snapper

Think Twice
Length
53 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Epinephelus coioides
Indo-West Pacific

Orange-spotted grouper

Avoid
Length
25 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
nt
Pagrus major
Northwest Pacific

Red seabream

Not Assessed
Length
30 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Aethaloperca rogaa
Indo-West Pacific

Redmouth grouper

Not Assessed
Length
35 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
dd
Gymnothorax reevesii
Indo-West Pacific

Reeve's moray

Not Assessed
Length
Unknown
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Epinephelus fuscoguttatus x Epinephelus lanceolatus
Artificial Species

Sabah grouper

Avoid
Length
Unknown
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Hapalogenys nigripinnis
Northwest Pacific

Short barbled velvetchin

Not Assessed
Length
Unknown
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Trachinotus blochii
Indo-Pacific

Snubnose pompano

Think Twice
Length
36 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Plectropomus maculatus
Western Pacific

Spotted coralgrouper

Not Assessed
Length
30 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Oplegnathus punctatus
Pacific

Spotted knifejaw

Not Assessed
Length
Unknown
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Plectropomus areolatus
Indo-Pacific

Squaretail coralgrouper

Avoid
Length
39 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
vu
Lutjanus stellatus
Northwest Pacific

Star snapper

Think Twice
Length
Unknown
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Stephanolepis cirrhifer
Western Pacific

Threadsail filefish

Not Assessed
Length
12 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Cephalopholis sonnerati
Indo-Pacific

Tomato hind

Not Assessed
Length
34 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Scorpaenopsis cf. cirrosa
Northwest Pacific

Weedy stingfish

Not Assessed
Length
Unknown
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
ne
Siganus canaliculatus
Indo-West Pacific

White-spotted spinefoot

Think Twice
Length
12 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Epinephelus awoara
Northwest Pacific

Yellow grouper

Not Assessed
Length
26 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
dd
Variola louti
Indo-Pacific

Yellow-edged lyretail

Not Assessed
Length
33 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
lc
Acanthopagrus latus
Northwest Pacific

Yellowfin seabream

Not Assessed
Length
29.1 CM
NE
DD
LC
NT
VU
EN
CR
EW
EX
dd

Where to
eat


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Seafood labels


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Where to
buy


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Online
Stores


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WWF Seafood Pocket Guide

Please obtain your copy here

Three questions to ask when using your seafood guide:

  • What species is it?
  • Where is it from?
  • How was it caught, or was it farmed?

Get Updates

WWF Seafood Pocket Guide

Please obtain your copy here

WWF Seafood Guidebook

Please obtain your copy here

Three questions to ask when using your seafood guide:

  • What species is it?
  • Where is it from?
  • How was it caught, or was it farmed?

Get Updates