Re: The Ethics conversation...Beginner Hobbyists, Neale
Monks chimes in re fatuous FW stmt.s
From Rene: "Certainly you're aware of the freshwater
species now listed as threatened with extinction because of the
aquarium trade/hobby. Certainly you're aware of the diminishing
wild birds from habitat destruction, etc., despite their protection
from the trade/hobby. Imagine the very long list of wildlife tragedies
if Lacey and the Wild Bird Conservation Act had not been enacted.
> Hello Rene,
> Which freshwater species are endangered because of collection for
the aquarium trade. I'm not aware of any.
> I am aware of freshwater species kept by aquarists that are
endangered or even extinct in the wild. To give one example, the
Red-Tail Black Shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor) is apparently extinct in
the wild, or at least persists in only an extremely small range. But
there is no argument over the causes of its extinction, the building of
dams and the loss of habitat. The fact this species had previously
become popular in the aquarium trade, and subsequently bred on farms,
is probably the only thing that gives this species any sort of
> This isn't to say that the freshwater trade isn't causing
problems. Introduction of non-native species (such as goldfish and
guppies) can cause major problems and has already done so in places
like Florida and Australia. I think we should also be sensitive to the
fact that farming marine fish species won't prevent them causing
the same sort of harm if they are set loose in marine environments.
We're already seeing a taster of that sort of thing with Pterois
volitans in the Western Atlantic.
> As Bob mentioned, farming tropical marine organisms will have
costs of its own. Some 30 years ago there were many who believed
aquaculture would replace the need to harvest marine resources such as
fish and shrimp. To some degree, aquaculture did lower the cost of
these foods. But they also incurred their own substantial costs.
Farming carnivores like salmon means that small fish needed to be
caught in vast numbers, and this in turn caused problems for those
animals, like seabirds, that fed on these small fish. The salmon
themselves created waste and harboured parasites, and these in turn
placed severe stresses on those rivers and sea lochs where the salmon
were farmed. Farmed shrimp have turned out to be catastrophic in many
cases, partly by destroying precious mangrove habitats, but also in
terms of how much food they need and the waste they produce.
> If you accept that natural populations have an in-built ability to
accept a certain level of predation, then harvesting wild fish or
corals is by far the least ecologically damaging way to harm their
populations. (This puts to one side the energy costs of shipping
livestock around the world, of course.) A common misconception is that
every fish has the potential to find a viable niche in its ecosystem.
It doesn't. Most will fail for one reason or another long before
they breed. Thinking of damselfish, not only do they need to survive
being eaten, they also need to arrive on the right part of a coral reef
for their ecology, secure a territory, and then locate a mate. None of
these are certainties, and most will fail. That's why they have so
many offspring. Provided we are removing damselfish at a sustainable
level, and that the way we catch them isn't placing an unusual
selection pressure on the species, then no harm is done.
> Cheers, Neale (BSc marine zoology, as well as less relevant PhD in