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I wonder if anything has changed...
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Marcos Avila
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Hiroshima (JP)

PostPosted: 2004.12.20(Mon)1:59    Post subject: I wonder if anything has changed... Reply with quote

The article below was posted exactly 5 years ago by Associated Press. I wonder if the present scenario is any different from what it was at the time...

Associated Press wrote:
Home aquariums pose growing threat to reefs, experts say

November 1, 1999 Web posted at: 6:54 PM EST (2354 GMT) CHRISTIANSTED, you.S. Virgin Islands (AP) -- Home aquarium owners, most in the United States, are threatening fragile reefs by buying up tons of the world's coral and tropical fish, experts say.

Enthusiasts are buying up live coral at a rate that has increased 12 to 30 percent a year since 1990, according to reports to be presented Tuesday at a you.S. government conference on coral reefs.

The demand to fill fish tanks is fueling a thriving trade in illegal harvesting, with divers squirting cyanide into reefs to stun fish and killing smaller fish and coral in the process. Only one in 10 captured fish survives, researchers from the US Coral Reef Task Force said.

"Hobbyists have a love of these critters," said Roger Griffis, a Department of Commerce policy analyst. "If they knew it was harming the reef, they would be appalled."

The US Coral Reef Task Force is meeting on the you.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix to consider ways to preserve reefs and mull reports by its committees of scientists, business leaders and government officials. you.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is to address the conference Tuesday.

Earlier conservation efforts have focused on threats like pollution and global change. But early arrivals at the conference Monday said aquarium enthusiasts are becoming a real threat.

Two-thirds of the world's 1.5 million aquarium hobbyists live in the United States. They buy half of the aquarium fish and up to 80 percent of the coral traded in the world, the task force's committee on international trade said. The next largest importers are Germany and Japan.

Since the United States bans harvesting of coral in its own waters, most of the supply comes from loosely protected reefs in poorer countries. Most aquarium fish come from Indonesia and the Philippines, and more than half are harvested with cyanide in violation of local laws, the task force said.

The you.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species regulates trade for 2,000 species of coral. But live fish, soft corals, anemones, crustaceans, mollusks and other creatures imported to the United States for the aquarium trade are not on the list.

In September, the European Union temporarily banned imports of a half dozen coral species from Indonesia because of doubts over the country's claim that the environment was not being harmed.

Seahorse populations have dwindled by more than 25 percent since 1994, in part because of harvesting, the task force said. Twenty countries, including the United States, export seahorses for aquariums and to be used in folk medicines.

The booming demand for fish has prompted the African nation of Mozambique to impose a ban on coral and aquarium fish exports until 2001. The Pacific island of Fiji is also reviewing export laws.

The Marine Aquarium Council, a Honolulu-based umbrella for conservation groups, marine industries and government agencies is calling for a certification program. That would create a paper trail so that buyers know their fish were harvested legally, said Paul Holthus, the council's executive director. Currently they have to "trust what they are being told" by sellers, he said.

In one report, the task force recommended increasing the number of Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors at ports and testing fish for cyanide.

Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.

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nonamethefish
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003

PostPosted: 2004.12.20(Mon)10:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, many fish available are now CB, and propagated corals are starting to come onto the market. And of course their is definetly a concern for safe collecting methods that will allow the reef to become a sustainable resource for carefully watched harvesting of fish and coral for aquariums. According to some resources this may actually benefit the reefs in the poor countries which often harm the reefs with certain fishing methods(I.e dynamite). I'm curious whether or not collecting hundreds of thousands of pounds of live rock is ethical or not.

Also, pollution and perhaps global warming if it truly exists(I'm doubting that right now its cold over here~! LOL) will do far more damage than collecting a few fish would do. Allowing the public to see and experience these creatures would give conservation programs a better chance of earning support.

All said by a FW aquarist Confused Smile
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Irons
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Joined: 27 Feb 2003
Location: Buffalo, NY

PostPosted: 2004.12.20(Mon)11:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know what much, but from what I'm hearing more fish are becoming available from captive breeding. With the popularity and the internet more coral is being spread via captive frags.

As far as the live rock goes, I'm not sure. I know some of it comes from projects where that reef is being removed for building, so at least we are eating up what would be wasted otherwise.
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MarkLehr
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Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Location: Taylorsville, KY

PostPosted: 2004.12.29(Wed)20:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is not reasonable room to doubt that the saltwater fish industry is impacting our coral reefs. I have been an advocate for over 10 years that the saltwater industry should be regulated. The regulation should not be of the hobbyist, but rather of the LFS which is making a profit by selling the animals. Far to many fish die needlessly at the hands of uneducated LFS employees and in the tanks of hobbyists who receive inaccurate advice.

In addition, the importation of animals which are well documented to have extremely poor survival rates in the home aquarium should be stopped. Importing animals such as Phillipene Regal Angelfish, Rock Beauty Angelfish, Green Chromis, Green Mandarine Goby's, and many many others needs to be stopped immediately. It is an embarasement to humankind that individuals lack the personal responsibility to research an animal before they keep it, and as such we can only rely on our LFS to stock animals which have a reasonable survival rate and do not have extremely specialized needs. We have hundreds of fish to choose from, so there is no reason to be so spoiled that we must pick a fish which is likely to die.

I am even willing to carry this arguement to the freshwater hobby in many cases. An example is the Black Arrowana. This fish almost never lives in captivity and as an adult has almost no physical differences from the Silver Arrowana. The industry as a whole has been allowed to run rampant on the arguement that we are selling captive bred animals, which actually only account for an extremely small segment of the hobby.

It is my enjoyment of fishkeeping that leads me to be active in the hobby. I enjoy knowing that forums such as this one can make a small difference in the hobby, one aquarist at a time.

Does anyone doubt that I am passionate about this issue? Very Happy
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Steve Hampton
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: 2004.12.30(Thu)9:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

MarkLehr wrote:
In addition, the importation of animals which are well documented to have extremely poor survival rates in the home aquarium should be stopped. Importing animals such as Phillipene Regal Angelfish, Rock Beauty Angelfish, Green Chromis, Green Mandarine Goby's,


Green Chromis?
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Huntress
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Houston TX

PostPosted: 2004.12.30(Thu)9:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

MarkLehr wrote:
In addition, the importation of animals which are well documented to have extremely poor survival rates in the home aquarium should be stopped. Importing animals such as Phillipene Regal Angelfish, Rock Beauty Angelfish, Green Chromis, Green Mandarine Goby's,


Adding to that list is the moorish idol. These gorgeous guys rarely do well for any length of time in home aquaria and it's so sad.
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LBC
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Joined: 07 Nov 2004

PostPosted: 2004.12.31(Fri)1:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tell you what I don't like. When a reputable book publisher releases a book encouraging people to buy only wild caught "beauties" over tank raised stock.
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