Insatiable demand is driving Asia's reef fish towards extinction. Destructive fishing seems to be the norm, and reefs without fish are becoming a common sight.
The high-end market, where prices can exceed $100 per pound, requires live fish. Unfortunately, destructive cyanide fishing seems to be the preferred method. Cyanide kills corals and most fish, but those fish that recover can be sold alive for rich profits.
This tragedy seems to defy solutions. Trade restrictions are in the works for humphead wrasse, one of the most endangered reef fish, but the process is laborious, loopholes exist, and there are many other species with no relief in sight.