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Tamberav

All commercial aquarium fishing is completely banned in the State of Hawaii

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seabass

This seems to be the way that things are trending, as are the protections for threatened fish and coral species (possibly including projected threats to populations, such as from climate change projections).  Unfortunately, protections for wild species often extend to captive raised or propagated specimens (potentially making them illegal to own).  It might have a significant effect on our industry in the future (much more than just limited supply and increased prices).

 

I am not against protecting threatened wild species or ecosystems; I'm mostly concerned about eventually making captive specimens illegal.

  • In 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed.
  • In 2004, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) proposed listing three Caribbean coral species. In 2005, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) determined that listings might be warranted for Staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and Elkhorn (Acropora palmata) corals. In 2006, NOAA listed Elkhorn and Staghorn corals as threatened. In 2008, NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) designated critical habitats for Elkhorn and Staghorn corals.
  • In 2009, the CBD proposed listing 83 species of coral. In 2012, NOAA determined that listings might be warranted for 82 of these species. In addition, they determined that it might be warranted to reclassify the Elkhorn and Staghorn corals as endangered. In 2014, 20 of these 82 species of coral were listed as threatened. Currently, the NMFS is considering protective regulations under Section 4(d) of the ESA for the conservation of these 20 coral species (which can give threatened species the same protections as endangered species).
  • In 2012, NOAA received a petition from the CBD to list 8 reef fish. In 2014, NOAA determined that listings might be warranted for Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion percula). The Caribbean Yellowtail Damselfish (Microspathodon chrysurus) was addressed via a separate finding by the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office.
  • In 2013, NOAA received a petition to list 81 marine species (including 23 species of coral and 15 bony fish). In 2014, NOAA determined that listings might be warranted for 3 species of coral and 5 bony fish. This includes the Banggai Cardinalfish (Pteropogon kauderni), which is commonly tank bred.

Even I have successfully bred and raised Banggai Cardinalfish in captivity.

072919a.jpg

Currently, the Endangered Species Act's "no take" protections make it illegal to: import, export, take within the U.S. or territorial seas, take upon the high seas, remove, damage, destroy, cut, possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, ship, or receive protected corals.  What's important to us is that protected captive species (even if they have been commonly sold in the past, and easily bred or propagated) would receive the same protections as fish and coral in the wild; this would even make the existing captive specimens illegal to buy, sell, trade, or own.

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mcarroll

Interesting synopsis.....thanks for posting that!

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seabass

Thanks, feel free to repost it; I wish more people were aware of it.  Industry leaders seem more intent on fighting which species get listed, versus allowing protections for wild fish and coral, and trying to change the current law regarding captive specimens (which I feel is a better strategy).  This is a fight that can only be won if industry leaders (like ORA) are willing to take it up.  I've even written to PIJAC (Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council) before, but they didn't respond.  But that was years ago, maybe it's time to try again.

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seabass

Taken from the above article:

Quote

What has happened to Hawaii’s marine aquarium fishery is profound, according to fishers and marine scientists alike. Emotion and bias have—at least for now—trumped science, driven by organizations with deep pockets that could outspend the entire industry without a second thought.

 

The closure of Hawaii’s aquarium fishery may serve as a real-world warning for those elsewhere who continue to participate in the collection and distribution of wild fishes and corals for the aquarium trade. Hawaii’s fishers are certainly not alone; Indonesia’s coral ban is another reminder, and the battle over coral collection and coral farming in Fiji rages on.

 

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melson

I'm all for protections. I think us as reefkeepers should encourage more protections. After all our passion lies with reefs! I know when I travel to the Caribbean my favorite part is usually seeing reefs in the wild.

 

But I also get being angry with the restrictions imposed on us but not commercial fisherman. The tons vs thousands argument holds merit too.

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seabass

A trip to the Caribbean sounds wonderful.  Although not everyone has that option.

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seabass

So what has the most significant impact on our wild reefs?  Is it commercial fishing, air pollution and runoff, greenhouse gasses and climate change, collecting wild specimens for reef hobbyists, or ownership of captive fish and coral?  I would argue that captive ownership (even if a black market were to develop), would have an almost negligible impact on reefs.

 

If we believe certain politicians, and some taxpayer funded studies, we might conclude that climate change is the largest threat to wild reefs (as well as to the Earth).  However, even though the (IPCC) United Nations climate panel reports recognize that global warming is a real problem, they project that it won't have the impact that has been alleged by some.

 

I feel that investing in innovation will be the key, and not just cutting carbon emissions (which potentially could cost much more).  By making green energy cheaper than fossil fuels, there would be a real incentive for China, India, and other nations (and not just well meaning Americans) to switch to green alternatives (including solar, wind, nuclear, biofuels, etc).

 

Should we encourage protections for natural reefs?  IDK, maybe, if those protections don't completely shut down our industry (which, arguably, has a limited impact on natural reefs).  And by amending the ESA to exclude captive fish and coral, we could continue to keep reef tanks (while possibly saving certain species, which might become extinct in the wild).

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melson

@seabass, 100% I agree with you. I think we are scapegoats of such a huge problem that is affecting the ocean and coral reefs. I think us hobbyists could do better educating our friends/public by telling the story of coral reefs because we have them in our living room.

 

But what do we say to our legislators and our government? Our hobby on the face of things could sound bad. People go out and collect wild, beautiful fish and coral, sell them to a middle man or fish store, ship them, then if they survive all of that we buy them and we put them in our personal tanks.

 

And while the "documentary" Tiger King is pretty meme worthy, there was A LOT of public outcry about keeping wild animals in people's personal zoos. Also don't forget about the push for paper straws because of one photo/video of a sea turtle with a straw in its nose.

 

Again, I agree with you. But nowadays, the person that screams the loudest on the internet sometimes (I won't say always) wins.

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seabass
17 hours ago, melson said:

But what do we say to our legislators and our government?

We basically need a lobbyist, like from PIJAC, to represent us.  I don't believe that ORA, or most other captive reef vendors have a lobbyist on staff; but that might not be such a bad idea given what they have at stake.

 

17 hours ago, melson said:

Our hobby on the face of things could sound bad.

IDK, in many ways, it's pretty similar to the ornamental freshwater fish trade.  Plus many of the objections would be addressed if we were primarily talking about keeping captive fish and coral.

 

17 hours ago, melson said:

And while the "documentary" Tiger King is pretty meme worthy, there was A LOT of public outcry about keeping wild animals in people's personal zoos.

I'm not sure that most of us have much in common with Joe Exotic.  Maybe Blackfish is a better analogy.  But to me at least, it equates more with keeping guppies at home.

 

17 hours ago, melson said:

But nowadays, the person that screams the loudest on the internet sometimes (I won't say always) wins.

Maybe.  Especially, when our voice seems small compared to groups like PETA.  My posts won't change things, except maybe to increase awareness.  If I thought it would help, I'd call on our members to write to PIJAC, ORA, Biota, and other aquaculture companies.

 

I've written to PIJAC before, and even spoke with a lobbyist for another industry about it.  I'll probably write PIJAC again, along with ORA and Biota, just to do my part.  However, the new administration and congress might not be as open to the idea of amending the ESA as one that is more favorable to deregulation.

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melson

You're right Blackfish might be a little more comparable. Tiger King is most fresh in my mind because thank you COVID lol

 

A lobbyist would be great, I don't know who would pay for that though.

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king aiptasia
On 1/14/2021 at 9:01 AM, seabass said:

This seems to be the way that things are trending, as are the protections for threatened fish and coral species (possibly including projected threats to populations, such as from climate change projections).  Unfortunately, protections for wild species often extend to captive raised or propagated specimens (potentially making them illegal to own).  It might have a significant effect on our industry in the future (much more than just limited supply and increased prices).

 

I am not against protecting threatened wild species or ecosystems; I'm mostly concerned about eventually making captive specimens illegal.

  • In 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed.
  • In 2004, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) proposed listing three Caribbean coral species. In 2005, NOAA determined that listings might be warranted for Staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and Elkhorn (Acropora palmata) corals. In 2006, NOAA listed Elkhorn and Staghorn corals as threatened. In 2008, NMFS designated critical habitats for Elkhorn and Staghorn corals.
  • In 2009, the CBD proposed listing 83 species of coral. In 2012, NOAA determined that listings might be warranted for 82 of these species. In addition, they determined that it might be warranted to reclassify the Elkhorn and Staghorn corals as endangered. In 2014, 20 of these 82 species of coral were listed as threatened. Currently, the NMFS is considering protective regulations under Section 4(d) of the ESA for the conservation of these 20 coral species (which can give threatened species the same protections as endangered species).
  • In 2012, NOAA received a petition from the CBD to list 8 reef fish. In 2014, NOAA determined that listings might be warranted for Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion percula). The Caribbean Yellowtail Damselfish (Microspathodon chrysurus) was addressed via a separate finding by the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office.
  • In 2013, NOAA received a petition to list 81 marine species (including 23 species of coral and 15 bony fish). In 2014, NOAA determined that listings might be warranted for 3 species of coral and 5 bony fish. This includes the Banggai Cardinalfish (Pteropogon kauderni), which is commonly tank bred.

Even I have successfully bred and raised Banggai Cardinalfish in captivity.

072919a.jpg

Currently, the Endangered Species Act's "no take" protections make it illegal to: import, export, take within the U.S. or territorial seas, take upon the high seas, remove, damage, destroy, cut, possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, ship, or receive protected corals.  What's important to us is that protected captive species (even if they have been commonly sold in the past, and easily bred or propagated) would receive the same protections as fish and coral in the wild; this would even make the existing captive specimens illegal to buy, sell, trade, or own.

eh they only enforce it on first worlders, then the filthy bureaucracy dwelling creatures look the other way as third worlders completely destroy their environment without any regard for the next generation.

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