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Editorial (pdf)

Welcome to our new approach to Porcupine! We have done away with bulk mailings in favour of using a leaflet (which has been circulated separately), designed to highlight the flavour of each issue, in combination with our web-based version. I hope that you enjoy our new look, and would welcome feedback.

The delay in getting Porc! 32 out is largely my fault, but I have as one of my excuses some good news to round out Professor Dudgeon’s ‘Year of Biodiversity’. Some of my leave last year was spent on preparations for a CITES conference in which, among other things, several species of interest to Hong Kong were listed on Appendix II. Important among these was the Humphead Wrasse (So Mei), part of the live fish trade and a star turn at Ocean Park. The listing is an important acknowledgement that some fishes, like other vertebrates, can be seriously threatened by exploitation, and will hopefully lead to a more sustainable trade in the future.

On whether or not fish, threatened or otherwise, may suffer pain in the same way as their back-boned relatives, however, is not so clear, according to the lead article of this issue (see also the two papers below by Sneddon and Sneddon et al. – thanks to Kenny Leung for alerting me to these). An increasing number of publications suggest there is little reason to doubt that they probably do, but since we may never know for sure, we certainly can’t rule out the possibility. The lead article, on animal rights and conservation, helped me to make a new year’s resolution; in deference to the Rooster (or at least to his hen), I will only buy free-range eggs from now on.


Sneddon LU (2003) The evidence for pain in fish: the use of morphine as an analgesic. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 83 (2): 153-162.

Sneddon LU, Braithwaite VA, Gentle MJ (2003) Do fishes have nociceptors? Evidence for the evolution of a vertebrate sensory system. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series Biological Sciences 270 (1520): 1115-1121.






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