Are Fish Wild?

Tanya Wyatt*, Kim Friedman, Alison Hutchinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


As the global biodiversity crisis continues, it is important to examine the legislative protection that is in place for species around the world. Such legislation not only includes environmental or wildlife law, but also trade law, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which gets transposed into national legislation. This commentary analyses legislative definitions of wildlife, whether or not that includes fish, which has implications for fish welfare, use of fish for food security, and biodiversity conservation when fish, or other wildlife, are excluded. Through a legislative content analysis of the 183 parties’ legislation of CITES, we explore whether fish are afforded the same protections as other species by being included in legal definitions of wildlife. We found that while a majority of CITES parties’ legislation appear to define fish as wildlife, there are a number of instances where this is unclear or not the case, and this could have significant ramifications for the welfare of non-human animals, their use, and conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-492
Number of pages8
JournalLiverpool Law Review
Issue number3
Early online date12 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


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