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FAQs on Sources of Reef Mortality 1

Related Articles: Sources of Reef MortalityCyanide Usage in the Aquarium and Live Food-Fish Industries: Causes, Impacts and Management of a Pervasive Practice by Ivan Steward

Related FAQs:  Marine Mortality 2, Cyanide and Marine Livestock Collection,

Underwater at Pulau Redang, Malaysia.

Look What the Tsunami dragged in - Or, Just Because it's on the Internet Doesn't Make it True Hey Crew, Sent some photos of some awfully weird looking fish. James Gasta (Salty Dog) <Check this link out: http://www.snopes.com/photos/tsunami/creature.asp  Mike G>

Phuket Deep Sea Creatures - Found At Seaside After TSUNAMI <Wow, amazing the apparent destruction at several hundred feet of depth, force in bringing these animals to the surface. BobF>

TFH, article idea Bob, Here's one that's a little different. I'm thinking of an article taking a tangent from the horrible tragedy in SE Asia. I don't have any specifics in mind, but I'm sure there is an interesting article here. The tsunami poured billions of gallons of ocean into coastal lands. Although nothing compared to the human loss, there must have been considerable loss of fishes also. But not as much as one might think. <Actually... and a related note. Two days after... Leng Sy (Ecosystem, Coral Mag.) called, asked me to pen something about this... I told him I was too stricken, numb to think much about... no doubt many friends have perished... their holding systems, operations being close to the beaches> That got me thinking about that area...and monsoons. They're sort of reverse tsunami---they flood the coastal lands with fresh rain water. But both types of flooding create a lot of brackish regions. <Yes my friend... but there was millions of tons (not an exaggeration) of soil et al. dragged back out with the receding water... on to the reefs... and as many folks have pointed out, many of the human populated areas reefs were already diminished> Much of the New World tropical rainforest is in Amazonia, so we get flooded forests in the rainy season, but in SE Asia, most of the tropical rainforest is coastal, so we get brackish flooded conditions. And, not surprisingly, a lot of the fishes in the region are quite tolerant of different salinities. Does this spark any ideas? <Only a bit of struck flint> (I saw a news report right after the wave hit, from Sri Lanka. Helicopter forays spotted thousands of human corpses everywhere, but no animals. Elephants, water buffalo, everything must have gone to higher ground in advance. I wonder if marine fish headed deep, and freshwater fish fled upstream...) <Yes... seems that other animals are far more aware of such impending disasters, pro-active in avoidance> Let me know what you think. David. <I will do so David... I have no confidence in this statement, but am concerned that too much reference to other than the human aspects of the South Asia Tsunami might backfire on TFH... for the meanwhile, if there is someone who is not so "close" to feeling this event, please do ask them to write about it. Bob F>

Tsunami consequences? Hello Crew!  Happy Holidays to all.  I was planning to use some of my holiday loot to add some fish to my 55G reef.  I'm wondering how you think the Tsunamis will impact the fish trade -- <Many of the people in the trade, especially the "independent" collectors have been killed, the holding/shipping facilities wiped out, the reefs, life destroyed for years to decades> I know a ton of stuff comes out of Indonesia and Sri Lanka.  Should I wait a few weeks?  Will fish that have made the trip recently be so battered from shipping stress (sitting around on docks, waiting for flights, etc) and in such bad shape that they should be avoided?   Thanks as always! <The livestock from the general affected area is gone. What there is in supply is from before the seismic wave. Bob Fenner>

Green carpet anemone, Saudi Arabia, Red Sea Hi guys, I have had a green carpet anemone for well over 2 years now.  We "saved" it from the LFS.  Another aquarist had the anemone in his home when his child broke the aquariums by hitting it with "who knows what" and broke the tank. <Yowzah!> anyways, the anemone is thriving and is now too big for our 75 gal aquarium. We do not want to give/sell it back to the LFS since there are very few people in our area (Saudi Arabia) who have salt water aquariums.  We are afraid that the new owner would not feed it properly and the poor guy would starve.   <I see> What is your opinion on putting him back into the Red Sea?  I know there is a big problem with people dumping their aquarium inhabitants back into the ocean and the fish find themselves in a foreign area.  Thus, there seem to be fish transgressing the "lines" lately.   <I would NOT do this, and discourage you from this action. Do you have, or have you had organisms from other localities in your aquarium? You might inadvertently introduce them along with the anemone... I empathize with your desires, but returning it to the seeming place of its origin is not a good idea> I really hate either thought, but I think the anemone might do better in the ocean rather than in another aquarium.  Proper food and lighting are very hard to come by here, and it costs us a lot of money to provide proper lighting and food for all our aquarium inhabitants.  I am torn between the "right thing to do" and would appreciate an opinion. Thanks very much. D <Perhaps a small classified ad would find a good aquarist to take over the husbandry of this specimen? Are there marine aquarium hobby groups in Saudi Arabia, another close-by country that you might ship this specimen to? Maybe take a look on the Net re this possibility. Actinarians in good health actually ship very well... just need to gently "squeeze" them down to smaller size... the store there can help you with oxygen and bagging. Bob Fenner>

Re: green carpet anemone Thanks for your reply.  I DO agree with what you said.  I just hope we can find someone willing and able to properly take care of this wonderful anemone. <Me too> Perhaps I can convince my husband with one of the "top ten reasons" to invest in larger aquarium!  "Honey, this is all we need - just a larger aquarium.  That's all.  Then, I will never need anything else!"  :) Thanks again. <Hee hee! I wish you luck on this, and good life. Bob Fenner>

LJ Shores marine ecosystem This may be of local interest to you. Mike  LJ Shores marine ecosystem Found this of interest, just passing it on. FYI: Behalf Of Carl Lind Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 3:34 PM At LJ Shores, in the wee hours of the morning, tractors rake up the beach wrack (kelp etc...). Dump trucks haul it away. The wrack is a foundation of the marine ecosystem.... Earlier this year I complained to the DFG about kelp removal and the related destruction of grunion eggs, etc. I pointed out that most of LJ Shores is an ecological reserve (up to the mean high-tide line). I received the following in response: Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2004 12:03 PM Subject: San Diego-La Jolla Ecological Reserve Mr. Lind, I am the DFG Marine Lieutenant for San Diego and I received a copy of your email from Mr. Ugoretz. I appreciate your concern regarding kelp removal within the San Diego-La Jolla Ecological Reserve. I have informed the City of the boundary lines of the reserve. By the letter of the law, any take of kelp below the mean high tide line in the reserve is a violation of California Code of Regulations. We have notified the City of this and will work with them to ensure these violations do not continue. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me. Lt. Denise Stiewig DFG, Marine Region - San Diego <Well done. THIS is exactly how things should get done. Bob F>

This is interesting... Reef mortality co-factors Scientists recently discovered a link between a massive coral death in Indonesia, man-made forest fires, and El Ni?. Check it out here--> http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/livingthings/reef_mystery.html

Please Boycott this company! I thought - what better way to get the word out than to post on Bob Fenner's website. I came across this website www.oceanstore1.com <aka: http://www.goldstorm.com/great_lakes_nautical/index.htm> when I was searching images of Acropora in Google images. I guess I knew these companies existed but it is easier to look the other way or not notice them. This website sells bleached SPS skeletons as decor, I thought... ok that's fine, they are probably dead to begin with, and washed up on the shore, but no!  They admit to diving for these corals - only to kill them and sell them! This is an actual quote from their website: "Some of the most exquisite forms of natural art comes from the depths of the Oceans! The colors and textures are beyond astounding! Coral Specimens are Museum Quality and include beautiful wood base. The Diving Crew" I couldn't believe this, so I had to read on to see if they gave more detail about collection etc... There is an "Environmental Note" button that has some more info about an appendix 11 and states "in no part of the world is a single genera of the stony coral endangered." so that gives us the right to collect them and kill them?  Maybe it does, or maybe it's just not regulated too well - Regardless, I would like to send some kind of message to this company. I think an email will probably go unnoticed - I was thinking of something a little more substantial.  Any ideas for me and other concerned reefers would be appreciated. Keep up the good work. James San Jose, CA <Mmm, looks like an "upper-scale", "old-school", "shell shop"... am sure they believe that they truly are helping enhance others appreciation of the ocean world... am given to make comparisons with folks who might also enjoy the beauty of the human skeleton over ones with flesh et al. Bob Fenner>

Studies on marine mortalities in the trade Bob, Thanks for reviewing the paper.  For now, I would appreciate it if you did not send it to anyone. <Hotay. Will delete from my desktop. Done>   It has been accepted for publication in the SPC Live Reef Fish Information Bulletin that is published on-line. Hence, in a month or two anyone will be able to download it in the bulletin Issue No. 13.  The article by Schmidt and Kunzmann will appear in the same issue. <Real good. Please do send me the specific URL for our notification> There is a possibility the paper will also become available on CD-ROM as part of the Marine Ornamentals '04 Proceedings. <Real good> As far as my papers, I cannot allow them to be distributed on your web site, because they are copyrighted by Kluwer (the two papers published in Aquarium Sciences and Conservation). You are free to copy the PDF files and send them to your friends (and enemies if you wish). <Hee hee... will be grateful to refer folks to wherever you post them> I was hoping for some special insight on the most recent  paper.  Are you still unwilling to provide your best guess concerning an average mortality at the retail level or a range of normal mortalities at the retail level? <Am always willing, indeed anxious to share information. I just don't know much that is accurate, significant or meaningful here. Our retail stores had a cumulative incidental mortality of about 20%... but this number was highly variable week to week, supplier to supplier, seasonally... Some species we about "gave up on", particularly from certain sources, as they had very low survival historically... and other suppliers, learned to get "damsels", Lionfishes, whatever from as they were rather steady suppliers of such. For Petco, I found that the actual staff at some stores was THE critical linchpin in providing sufficient care to experience lower losses. Data on a good number of stores... I don't know if I/we can find. Many, likely the vast majority of stores don't keep good records of livestock losses, other than what the trade considers "disputable" early (like within a day and definite DOAs) to take up with suppliers...> I will send you some other recent papers, once I convert them to PDF (e.g., paper on CDT, published in the book Collection, Culture, and Conservation, plus another one on Coral Farming and TURFs mapped using GIS in a book titled Marine Geography). Peter Rubec <Real good Peter. I look forward to our further discussions. Bob Fenner>

Mentioned in a RC Thread I thought you guys might want to take a look at this thread, http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s= < http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=2953750#post2953 750> &postid=2953750#post2953750  You both are mentioned that you believe that for every 1 specimen (specifically inverts) that makes it into a hobbyists tank, 10 have died along the chain of custody.  I don't doubt that is the case for some things, but it is made as a blanket statement and I thought you might want to clear it up.  -Steven Pro <Mmm, interesting... will cc Anthony here... don't know where this "quotation" might have originated, but not from me. Thank you for this. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mentioned in a RC Thread > <Mmm, interesting... will cc Anthony here... don't > know where this "quotation" might have originated, > but not from me. Thank you for this. Bob Fenner> <I peeped the thread Bob... the chap is quoted as saying Bob, Anthony, Scott M and Eric B have all said/told [him] this figure... and it is applied to all invertebrates. Heehee... I am sure he is mistaken. Ant-> <<Me too. Bob F>> RE: Mentioned in a RC Thread Bob, I thought you might wish to clarify your position on the subject.  I am sure the mortality rate for some things like Xenia, Linckia, Chromis, etc. is staggering, but things like Turbinaria peltata, hermit crabs, and others are nearly indestructible.  -Steven Pro <Agree with you Steven, that there is differential incidental mortality amongst groups of invertebrates... maybe half of the total of all collected specimens are dead through collection through distribution to the penultimate end-user (retailer, etailers who deal in marine livestock)... much more than this and their trade would be uneconomical. Bob Fenner>

Corals are adapting hello all, just thought I'd point out a cool thing incase none of you saw this.  On Sunday on Yahoo scientists report that the coral reefs are making some comeback ,after years of higher than normal temps.  Awesome , just awesome......looks life are stony friends are  stubborn to extinction as long as we stay involved.  Adapting to higher temps to survive...NICE!!!  check it out , pass it on....later. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=570&ncid=753&e=1&u=/nm/20040502/sc_nm/environment_maldives_coral_dc <Good news indeed... makes sense that organisms that have been around for hundreds of millions of years, through ice ages, reversals of poles, whatever undid the dinosaurs... would be able to put up with the current affair. Bob Fenner>

Same as it ever was (natural and not mortalities of pet-fish) Dear Bob Fenner and Crew,  <Hi Dennis.> Wahhhhhhhhhh! I'm sorry but I don't think I can read your website anymore! All these people writing in with their fish suffering with disease and dying slowly and painfully is horrible! It's so sad. <Unfortunately, this is quite common. I've seen many people buy fish and not care whether they live or die. To those people, if something dies, they can always buy another one. After all, $20.00 a fish isn't too bad, right? I do feel that in the future, this hobby may be quite limited to what we can keep.> Fish being shipped, stressed and in constant panic only to be put in a tank and die of ammonia poisoning because the tank doesn't have basic biological filtration because people don't understand it! <I completely agree with you.> After reading the questions and answers sometimes I wish we as humans were unable to keep pet fish and we left them be in their natural habitat! <Some fish and invertebrates were saved or taken off the endangered species list by being kept in artificial environments. I don't believe this is a bad thing (many people are successfully spawning fish and corals in their own aquarium). However, there are some corals which should be left in the wild.> It seems like most of these people's fish are suffering from basic problems like ammonia, nitrite poisoning from inefficient biological and overcrowding, small aquarium sizes, not to mention all the shipping problems. I just read the passage about someone ordering a lionfish and the bag was deflated when they received it and they put it in the tank and it was just floating and spinning in circle but still breathing, ughhhhhhhhhhhh. I remember reading in Bob's book about the cyanide stuff, and how horrible that is also, cuz most of the fish die from it. I know those Malaysian fish catchers are NOT out there with nets! <First, it's not only Malaysian fish catchers who do all the cyanide usage. Many other countries are also contributing to this use of poisons in catching fish. However, these people need to make a living. Many of them cannot afford basic equipment such as nets and need to use cyanide to catch their livestock. Second, Cyanide is not the only contributor to fish death. Many fish which are captured in deeper waters have not had their swim bladders adjusted properly (also known as "burping fish"). Many are dead when they reach the surface or are suffering when they arrive in your petstore.> I enjoy keeping my marine, brackish and fresh tanks IMMENSELY, (yes i have multiple tank syndrome) but chances are I'm gonna let my hobby fizzle out do to the fact I don't know if I want to be a part of the pet fish industry do to the suffering it causes, in addition to becoming a devoted vegetarian! :O <Keep in mind that there are many successes and breakthroughs which have come from home aquariums. I've had my P. damicornis spawn several times within the past year producing dozens of offspring. I've even had my E. quadricolor anemone split on several occasions. I personally think that if everyone does proper research before they buy their livestock this can all be prevented. Unfortunately, some people are not interested in learning and instead want their tank to look like a "masterpiece" over night. This cannot happen -- it's impossible. Many of the successful systems out there have been setup for years...not days. This hobby is not a race, it's to have fun and enjoy yourself while learning about the worlds underwater.> All I did was read one page of questions and I'm all upset! I did search about the baby Bullrout I bought for my brackish tank and I ended up reading the lionfish shipping catastrophe, and then the fish with no eyes, on and on. Am I being too sensitive? Do I need Prozac? Does there have to be so much suffering in life? <I cannot answer any of those questions. It's up to you to decide.> P.S. I've had my miniatus grouper for 5 years now, he was 4 inches when I purchased him, he is 7-8 maybe 9? inches now. How many more years can I expect to keep him? What is general life expectancy, any ideas? <Many marine fish can live in captivity for well over 20 years.> Thanks for hearing my comments, <You've brought up a very interested subject which hasn't been discussed very much here. I enjoyed reading your comments and views. Take Care, Graham.> Dennis
State of the Hobby - My Response to Dennis Crewmates: <<From Steve Allen>> I read the post by Dennis regarding his temptation to quit the hobby so as not to be a party to all of the bad things that go on. I just wanted to put my two cents' worth in. He certainly sounds like a conscientious aquarist. The last thing this hobby needs is to lose the people who care. It is the caring, conscientious aquarists who are our only hope for the future. Yes, there are aquarists out there who, like Graham said, just plain don't care. However, most are simply ignorant or victims of misinformation. I submit that the real baddies here are those wholesalers and retailers whose interest in making money overrides any concern for the fate of the livestock they sell. I have dealt with such before, but I have also dealt with plenty of honest retailers who care about the fate of the reefs and oceans. I firmly believe that fishkeeping can benefit the reefs by making people more aware of and informed about them. It is vital that the conscientious aquarists who care stand up and be counted. We need to educate, inform, and sometimes criticize. That's why WWM is such a fantastic resource. I just wish more people could discover it before they go to Petco. In the big picture, the aquarium trade isn't anywhere near the top of the list of threats to the reefs. Unsustainable and devastating food fishing practices (e.g. dynamite), boat anchors, building materials harvesting, global warming, and alternative medicines (seahorses as medicines, for example) come immediately to mind as greater threats. There are many more. The ornamental aquatics industry can and must be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We can successfully advocate for better practices. One voice is not enough, but is enough individuals make themselves heard, positive change is inevitable. We do need to clean our own house though, to avoid being hypocrites. I see several areas to work on:  use of poisons to capture fish, the capture and sale of species with little hope of survival (such as Moorish Idols, Mandarin/Psychedelic Dragonets, Linckia stars, and most anemones), poor shipping practices, using fish to cycle, overcrowding tanks, etc. We must fight the greed and indifference of those who know better and the ignorance of those who do not. I am convinced that most of the people who turn to us (the posts that discouraged Dennis) are good folks who mean no harm to their animals.  They just don't have the knowledge they need. We need to find ways to get this to them before they make mistakes. But we're all only human-mistakes will continue, but I think the scale can be greatly reduced. Here's a few things the better informed might do to help: 1. Tell your LFS, bookstores & libraries to stock good books like "The New Marine Aquarium" and "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist." One LFS in my area sells these at cost. 2. Write letters to the editor to inform people both about the state of the reefs and oceans and about aquarium-keeping. Some papers even take longer submissions on topics of interest. 3. Speak up! Politely tell your LFS that he/she should not be selling whatever it is you see that shouldn't be there. Talk to customers you see there and share your experiences. On a number of occasions, I have (out of earshot of the workers) steered fellow customers away from a bad path they were being led toward. 4. Join a local club and help there. Look for opportunities to mentor younger aquarists 5. Take the opportunity to share with friends and acquaintances. Just last week, I gave the woman who cuts my hair the WWM URL when she mentioned that she and her husband are starting a reef. I have co-workers now who ask me for advice. 6. Perhaps we even need to advocate for restrictions on the importation/sale of species that we know are too hard to keep, though I am not a big fan of government regulation. However, if overly restrictive regulation is to be avoided, the hobby/industry needs to police itself. Just a few thoughts late at night. So Dennis, don't give up, get involved. Steve Allen <Thank you for your thoughtful input here Steve. Bob F>

Great Barrier Reef Corals mostly dead by 2050 Have you seen this article? I guess our hobby is actually a good thing. If this is true I guess taking coral out <No. Thanks for sending it along> of the ocean and bringing to a more stable environment is a good thing. Maybe that is the only chance for survival? <Umm, no... as the planet goes, so do we. Bob Fenner> SYDNEY (AFP) - The brightly-coloured corals that make Australia's Great Barrier Reef one of the world's natural wonders will be largely dead by 2050 because of rising sea temperatures, according to a report released Saturday.    Instead of the rich environment depicted in the recent movie Finding Nemo, the coral reef will be bleached out and replaced by ordinary seaweed, costing the tourism industry billion of dollars, the report into the impact of global warming says. Authors Hans and Ove Hoegh-Guldberg -- the head of Queensland University's marine studies centre and his economist father -- spent two years examining the effects of rising sea temperature on the reef for Queensland tourism authorities and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). Their 350-page report found no prospect of avoiding the "chilling long-term eventualities" of coral bleaching because greenhouse gases were already warming the seas as part of a process it said would take decades to stop. "Coral cover will decrease to less than five percent on most reefs by the middle of the century under even the most favourable assumptions," the report said. "This is the only plausible conclusion if sea temperatures continue to rise." Warmer sea waters make corals suffer thermal stress, eventually making them bleach and die. The report said this could occur if temperatures increased by as little as one degree centigrade, well below the two to six degrees water temperatures around the reef are expected to rise by over the next century. "There is no evidence that corals can adapt fast enough to match even the lower projected temperature rise," it found. Organisms reliant on coral would become rare or even face extinction, the report said. It said the bleaching would cost the economy up to eight billion dollars (6.24 billion US) and 12,000 jobs by 2020 under the worst-case scenario. Even under the best case scenario, about 6,000 jobs would be lost and tourists would be forced to visit "Great Barrier Reef theme parks" offshore to view the remaining coral. The reef covers more than 345,000 square kilometers (133,000 square miles) off Australia's northeast coast, making it the world's largest coral reef. Consisting of 2,900 interlinked reefs, 900 islands and 1,500 fish species, scientists consider it the world's largest living organism. Yet the delicate habitat faces numerous environmental threats, including chemical run off from farms, over-fishing, bleaching and the parasitic Crown-of-Thorns starfish, which attacks coral. The government announced plans in December to reduce farm run off and ban fishing in about a third of the reef in a bid to protect Australia's number one tourist draw card. But the report's authors said the government needed to do more, recommending Canberra ratify the Kyoto protocol on reducing greenhouse gases and take the lead in emission reduction. The WWF said urgent measures must be put in place to minimize reef damage and reduce greenhouse gases. "The argument for instant action is undeniable," WWF said in a statement. "Major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions must occur now, not in five or ten years time. This is likely to deliver major benefits to our societies both in the near-term and at times beyond 2050."

Re: Shedd website comments Bob: <Steve> I thought this exchange would interest you. I took the liberty of quoting you without attribution to avoid any possible repercussions to you for your comments about public aquaria & live rock. I hope you don't mind. Anyway, it looks like my message to Shedd will have a positive effect on their site. <Am glad to hear/read of your forthrightness. In future though, please do not hesitate to list my name, even the WWM site as a source. Am not adverse to stating my mind or being held to task for same> Thanks for all you do to promote responsible, conscientious marine aquarium practices. I am certain that you and the crew have saved the lives of countless living beings and the $ of many a hobbyist. <Agreed, and thank you. Bob Fenner> Steve Allen Subject: Shedd website comments Dear Mr. Allen, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the content of our website. We are happy to make revisions to the site when necessary, and as you rightly point out, the message on live rock misses the mark. One of the primary messages we hope to impart to our visitors is that they can take responsibility as consumers in supporting environmentally sustainable practices. In 1998, when we opened our seahorse exhibit, again in 2000 with our Amazon exhibit, and now with Wild Reef, one of the key messages we share is about making informed choices that promote sustainability.  This hits home for the aquarium hobbyist community, as well as for the public aquarium community. The reliance that we have on wild populations of animals for our displays is not too different from that of the home enthusiasts. In our exhibits and publications, we strive to put forward information that is useful to the beginner, and that guides them towards understanding the issues, getting reliable information, and then making informed choices. In creating our exhibits and building our collections, we work with colleagues to make sure that our own practices are as sustainable as they can be, and we help advance organizations that are working toward that end. The Marine Aquarium Council (www.aquariumcounci.org) is an excellent example of an organization that is doing just that. <We shall see. RMF> While the solutions aren't always easily found, the movement towards a sustainable trade in aquarium fishes and invertebrates is one that we strongly support. Clear messages on the merits of sustainable fishing practices over damaging alternatives such as cyanide fishing, blast fishing, etc. are presented to our guests in our Wild Reef exhibit. Focusing on live rock was a mistake. The broader messages around informed consumer practices for aquarium keeping are what will soon be replacing that item on our list of things people can do to help reefs. Thanks again for taking the time to write to us.    Sincerely, Jeff Boehm, DVM Vice President , Conservation and Veterinary Services John G. Shedd Aquarium 1200 South Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60605 Subject: Live Rock Aquaria Dear Shedd Aquarium Administrators: Number 8 on your list of ways to conserve reefs reflects your utter ignorance of the marine aquarium hobby. The manner in which live rock is collected for the aquarium trade is not at all devastating to reefs. To quote a well-know marine aquarium expert: "I have been (several times) to operations that collect such rock... in a few countries... It IS collected in areas where little permanent sessile macro-life (including stony or soft corals) occurs. I am at times alarmed at the apparent ignorance and/or stance of public aquariums on "hobbyist" use of resources... What a height of hypocrisy and stupidity... to on the one hand condemn "common folks" from using the world... and on the other charging them to see a smattering of it... And to think they will/can 'talk down' the avocational use of said resources and not hope/think to get caught up in the ensuing negative legislation that will surely follow the limiting/exclusion of our hobby." It is impossible to maintain a home-size marine tank without live rock. There are other issues that are infinitely more threatening to reefs than live rock collection, including several on your list. The harvesting of coral & reef rock for construction material and trinkets vastly exceeds the collection for aquariums. There are issues within the hobby that need addressing (harvesting of organisms that have no hope of survival in an aquarium, for instance) that need to be addressed & corrected, but the harvesting of live rock is not one of these. Perhaps if some of your wealthy donors/patrons paid to support the families in some of these tropical countries who depend on the harvesting of live rock for their daily sustenance, they would stop doing it. However, the money would be better spent on stopping the use of cyanide & dynamite on reefs. Steve Allen, Taylorsville, UT <Again, thank you for your efforts. Clarity is pleasurable. Bob Fenner>

An oldie but an important point, We do affect our environment! Here is a link to a news story found today on Yahoo (via Reuters) about the pet fish industry. The link and the story are below, plus I added other related links. Whether you agree with the information, numbers, or who is behind the study, is nebulous. The point being made is important and should promote thought and action. We do impact the environment around us! Go figure! http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030930/sc_nm/environment _fish_dc_2 PARIS (Reuters) - The capture and trade in more than 20 million tropical fish for aquariums each year earns cash for poor fishing communities but too often sends the fish to their deaths, a U.N. report said Tuesday. The trade in aquarium creatures is worth up to $330 million a year, the U.N. Environment Program's World Conservation Monitoring Center's report "From Ocean to Aquarium" said. "Some fish are completely unsuitable to aquariums," said Ed Green, one of the report's authors, adding mishandling of the rare fish often started very early in the supply chain. "Some fish are just treated as disposable commodities, exposed to the sunlight for hours after being caught and stored in plastic bags on their long journey from Southeast Asian reefs to aquariums in North America and Europe," he told Reuters. He said there was no indication that the aquarium trade was threatening any species with extinction, although some harvesting methods, like stunning the fish with a near-lethal dose of sodium cyanide, could harm both fish and coral reefs. About 50,000 people in Sri Lanka are directly involved in the export of marine life, a business which also provides a strong incentive to preserve fish stocks and reef environments. The report recommends the wider application of certification schemes by the Marine Aquarium Council (MAC), an international not-for-profit organization. Green said parents buying fish for their children should also pay more attention to their origin. The sale of clown fish shot up this year because of the movie "Finding Nemo," a computer-animated tale of a clown fish who ends up in a dentist's aquarium. "Nemo has created interest but also led to problems," said Green, adding many children had flushed fish down the toilet in an effort to send them back to the sea and parents had placed clown fish in fresh water boxes. Other references: http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?ArticleID=4259&Docume ntID=332&l=en http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/05/0530_030530_nemo1.html http://www.tracc.00server.com/Fisheries/cyanide/cyanide_index.html http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3151384.stm Peace to all, Paul Mansur <Thanks for this Paul. Mary.M sent a bunch along re this... will post your input along with hers. Bob F>

Link to the full UN report Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 14:50:39 -0700 http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?ArticleID=4259&DocumentID=332&l=en <Thanks Mary. Bob Fenner>

RE: Important News for the Aquarium Trade Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 14:16:54 -0700 Bob, I didn't think the ad was too bad...actually better than most I have read. Did you take the article to read very negatively? Eric (Cohen, SDC) <Mmm, more "middling"... it could be taken/used either way. I really don't like the continuing misreporting by Edmund Green re the amount of live coral used in the trade (12 million pieces annually?) that comes directly from the studies done putting together the "World Trade in Coral" by the WCMC... and I do heartily wish these same folks would say "something positive" re the good the trade does, the huge efforts at captive propagation...  Anyhow, my thoughts/feelings, Bob Fenner>

Re: Important News for the Aquarium Trade Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 14:15:15 -0700 MAC threatened that we better support them so they could fight the USCRTF on our behalf. Now that that threat has significantly subsided, they need something new to garner support. By "scaring" industry types into "join MAC or watch the world close down your industry", MAC is playing with fire. Don't believe me? Here it is straight from John Brandt- MAC's mouthpiece: "Importantly, this news report is now presented to mass media worldwide. The trade may need to answer some serious questions asked by serious and powerful environmental interests. Having MAC as a legitimate and tangible alternative to 'business as usual' is an great asset when the heat gets turned up politically on these issues." Mary Middlebrook <I really resent the tactics expressed by MAC in broad terms... and do NOT see them as allies in the least sense... Whoever pays these people will gain their allegiance... the trade will see. Bob Fenner>

Taking from the Sea - 9/28/03 Hello,   We just got home from a trip to the ocean, Bodega Bay area in CA. <Not far from my location> We brought home a small container with some sea water, shoreline gravel, and some kelp. <Cool but why?> I told the kids to go ahead and toss their handful of shells in with it. They wanted to use the shells and sand/gravel later on in their fish tank (after cleaning them). <Not a good idea. Harmful contaminates could be leached regardless of cleaning method> Going through the stuff my kids collected I found a small snail (olive?), <related> some live barnacles on muscles shells and TWO LIVE HERMIT CRABS. <Too bad.> What do I do with these little guys? <Unfortunately, I think watching them die is your only option. They are a mostly cold water intertidal animal. Very difficult to keep without the forethought of study and special equipment and feedings> They are both in snail shells which are appx. 3/4 of an inch. The crabs are olive colored with blue bands on their legs and on their large pincer. <maybe Pagurus samuelis? In any event, It is always a good idea to hold the shells in your open hands for a few minutes (literally) to be sure there is no animal inside. Maybe a digital camera or even quick drawings of things you find on the beach might be a more lasting memory rather than taking some animals homes. (not to mention environmental) Just a thought. I know it is hard to resist. My wife is crazy for shells!> I have a land hermit crab as a pet but I don't know what to do with these guys. <Not much one can do except return them. But a few is really not worth going back to the beach if you live far from it.> They are in a small container right now with the water, shells, kelp and driftwood we found, but I don't know how long I can keep them alive, I won't be able to go back to the ocean for some time so I cannot release them. <Yeah unfortunately, the writing is on the wall> So far they are very lively. <Yeah. Little workers. I too, am fascinated by them. Always foraging and fighting. Fierce little dodgers as well> We have one land hermit crab so I have some hermit crab cakes. I broke one up into small pieces and used a pair of tweezers to hold it near them in the water to see if I would at least have food for them. One snatched the little chunk out of the tweezers as soon as the food hit the water and devoured it. <Always hungry for a handout I tell ya. Hahaha> The other did the same with another piece. Can they live in fresh water? <Nope> They came out of a tidepool and they seem to keep crawling out of the water (probably to get back to the ocean) <yep. They usually are found in varying degrees of salty water and temp. Very durable but fresh water won't cut it.>  and actually seem to prefer to be out of it. <True but they do need it> I am trying to keep the water cool, but not cold. I don't know what temperature they need. <Usually between 58 and 72 because when on the rocky tidal flats (tide pools) they are exposed to varying degrees of environmental manipulation. Such as fresh water addition (via rain), evaporation (via sun) heating (via sun) and cooling (via addition of waters fresh ((rain)) and salty ((during tidal cycles and ambient air cycles)) HELP. <Do your best see what happens. Good luck. -Paul> Michelle

A Greater Question, Concern. Aiding the Environment Dear Wet Web Media, <Jenny> I'm writing to you with a rather odd question. How can I help the natural environment of marine fish? I ask because I love marine fish; so much so that I spend a ridiculous amount of money (mainly my student loan - he he) on escaping to hot countries to dive. <Me too, though not on loans> I'd absolutely love to have my own aquarium but my mum keeps on reminding me that an aquarium is a "watery zoo". i.e. the fish aren't happy and it's not fair to keep animals that should be wild cooped up. I'm trying to rationalize getting a fish tank by helping the fish/environment in some way. <Am not so convinced that captive aquatics are "happy" or not... seems to me that most are largely unaware of their circumstances. To try to be clearer, the western concept of "happiness" (sensorial) does not seem to enter into the consciousness of most species... they don't "realize" that their in some "different place" that's "worse, better, about the same". Fishes seems rather "autistic" to me> I've read the marine aquarist which has a good chapter that sets out the arguments for keeping fish (humans help things they love) but I'd like to put something back. Do you have any ideas? <Do your best to share, promote the interests of careful use, non-abuse, appreciation of the living world... in what ways you feel proficient... write a poem, tell friends... practice what you preach... live on a "small diet" for this smallish planet. This is best (IMO)> Cheers guys! Jenny, Leeds, England. <Thank you for your question, concern. Bob Fenner>

We better dive those coral reefs now! Coral reefs doomed, study says Centuries of overfishing killing ecosystems Keay Davidson, Chronicle Science Writer Pummeled by overfishing, the world's coral reef ecosystems "will not survive for more than a few decades" unless drastic action is taken to protect them, experts warn. To forestall a disaster that could devastate marine life, expose populous coastlines to stormier waves and economically devastate a tourism-dependent nation like Australia, the United States and other nations should vastly expand the designated "no take" zones -- where fishing and other exploitation is banned -- in coral ecosystems, said one author of an article for Friday's issue of Science. Historical evidence dating back thousands of years proves that overfishing, not recent coral diseases or other causes, is the main cause of the slow death of the world's coral ecosystems, marine paleontologist John Pandolfi of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and 11 other researchers say in the article. "Overfishing seems to be the largest 'signal' that explains our data," Pandolfi said. Another co-author, marine ecologist Enric Sala of Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, said, "What we're seeing in coral reefs is something akin to turning a tropical jungle into a golf course." So far they've documented only one out-and-out extinction of a coral reef inhabitant -- the Caribbean monk seal. But over the centuries, many other coral reef denizens have declined to the point where they have "no ecological impact -- they're functionally 'gone,' like coral trout, snapper, many of the turtles, (and) the manatees," Pandolfi said. Because coral ecosystem life forms are so interdependent, the continual loss of species "is like taking bricks out of a building, one by one. At a certain point the building is going to come crashing down," he added. "There are places like Jamaica where the percentage of live coral (as opposed to dead coral) is down to 5 percent." As moviegoers who've seen "Finding Nemo" know, a coral reef "provides a lot of places for fish to live. Coral reefs occupy about 0.2 percent of the world's oceans, yet they contain 25 percent of the species diversity," Pandolfi said. For fish, coral reefs are combination condos and restaurants. They're attractive to fish partly because they provide shelter from predators and all the food they can swallow. They also offer numerous idiosyncratic ecological "niches" for those oddball fish -- the loners and bohemians of the undersea world -- who prefer to, say, burrow into the sand beneath the coral rather than hobnob within the coral complex itself. Ever since humans began fishing thousands of years ago, species that jam the undersea metropolises called coral ecosystems have been gradually disappearing -- the biggest species first, such as green turtles -- according to the researchers' analysis of historical and archaeological records. They pored over documents such as Colonial-era records of fish catches from 14 coral reef ecosystems in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and Red Sea, including Australia's Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs of the Caribbean. One of the 12 co-authors, zoology Professor Karen A. Bjorndal of the University of Florida, and her colleagues found more than 400 documents, some of them going back to the British colonial era and earlier, that recorded fish catches over the centuries in the Bahamas alone. They learned that native Bahamians severely depleted the coral ecosystem's green turtles long before the Brits arrived. "I used to think that green turtles were basically in pristine shape when Columbus arrived (in Bahamas five centuries ago), and I don't think that anymore," Bjorndal said in a press release issued by the university. Based on the historical records, overfishing should be targeted as the No. 1 cause of coral ecosystem decline, the scientists concluded. As an analogy, "imagine if 90 percent of the redwoods disappeared in Northern California," Sala said. One solution: No-take zones should be greatly expanded in the world's coral ecosystems, Pandolfi said in a phone interview. The U.S. government has already designated five percent of coral ecosystems under its control as no- take zones. But Pandolfi advocates boosting the percentage to as high as 50 percent. Pandolfi cites a legal precedent: The state of California's recent move to greatly expand protection to marine ecosystems off its coast. During the last year, the California state Fish and Game Commission boosted to 11 percent the no-take share of the 1,500-square-mile Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary off Santa Barbara and Ventura. The previous percentage was less than 1/10th of one percent, according to ocean environmental activists. Besides threatening the food supply of much of the world, reef loss could imperil natural harbors that are sheltered by coral formation and could undermine tourism based on the appeal of vibrant coral life. Failure to prevent continued coral reef deterioration could turn countries such as Australia -- which are dependent on tourism at attractions such as the Great Barrier Reef -- into "Third World countries," Pandolfi said. Some anti-environmentalists might scoff, saying that humanity will continue to muddle through whatever happens to the coral reefs, Pandolfi acknowledged. He added: "If you want to live in a world where the ocean is mostly jellyfish and bacteria, there's nothing I can do about it." <Am not inclined to be as negative/didactic as this piece... but it's not that far off. Bob>

Coral Reef Degradation Speech Hello all, I am doing a persuasive speech in my speech class on the problem of coral reef degradation.  I have read quite a bit of information in order to prepare for the speech.  But I do have one question for any of you.  At the end of my speech, I have to give a "call to action" which puts the audience in a active role to do their part as individuals to help preserve our reefs.  So my question to you:  What is one of the most important things an average person can do to help preserve our coral reefs and help stop this degradation that is taking place?   <Good question... as in I don't have "one" good response. Folks should be encouraged to "back" environmental groups (NGO and governmental) whose platforms they endorse... to go and visit reefs in a conscientious manner... to NOT buy curios, other materials collected in destructive and/or by wasteful methods... and even (this is a bit touchy, but necessary) to not reproduce, or to limit their procreation.> Thanks for your time and commitment to this website. Jana <And you for yours. Bob Fenner>

Urchins destroying reef Hallo! <And you Glen> I'm living in Papua New Guinea. Im about to be spending a lot of time in and around the water diving and catching fish for export. I want to gain some tools and advanced knowledge in reef stewardship. I have moved to an area right on the water where there was dynamite used to build a wharf and also to kill fish. So there is plenty of work to be done to help the area recover. <Yes, well put.> My biggest concern I have noticed is the incredible abundance of black long spined sea urchins, who seem to be attacking the rejuvenating reef with ferocity - and seem to be winning.. <Only seem to be... these are likely Diadema savignyi... and their population will abate once the blasting, construction are over... there are natural mechanisms that will come into play to delimit their numbers... have experienced this first hand in Mabul and Kapalai, Malaysia> I want to eradicate these pests along with the crown of thorns and help educate the people about the importance of the reef and rejuvenating it to the abundant resource it once was. Are these urchins exportable? <Not really... are sometimes traded as ornamentals as very small (less than palm size overall) individuals... if you're going to destroy these and Acanthaster, #1 BE CAREFUL! Very sharp (and toxic) animals... secondly, you'll need to develop and implement a scheme to bring them ashore and let them dry out in the sun (don't just smash them on the reef... this will likely just speed up their distribution> I have been killing a few underwater by smashing their shells, and then fish come in and eat the insides. Does this cause any further problems?? <Yes... can greatly increase their numbers through aiding reproduction> Can you suggest any good reef organizations that may be able to help with educational materials? <There is a huge amount of older data on the Crown of Thorns, some on urchin removal... that you could reference through libraries, many "pro-reef" organizations... but I assure you, better (really) to ignore them... they will die back in due course and provide valuable service in the meanwhile. Better to focus on the "human" "software" issues... perhaps getting folks to place rubble, rock around where the wharf is being created, develop permanent moorings... for dive, anchoring purposes...> Thanks for any help you may be able to give Glen Butler <Good luck, life to you my friend. Bob Fenner> Re: Urchins destroying reef Thanks for the tips Bob! Its hard to watch the reef being attacked like this though.. <I understand... but believe that most such "population explosions" are the direct result of the disruption... and are more "solved" by the urchins than other ways... patience my friend. Count and perhaps weigh some sample animals, record, plot their abundance, density... in a few years you'll find they're about the same as most every other similar micro-habitat (with consideration to the ongoing human-effects of the wharf/use> Further away from the wharf there are much less urchin activities, I'm just a little worried that they might bloom even more and destroy even  more of the reef. <Other animals (e.g. triggers) will mediate their numbers... as will parasite fauna... you will see> The traditional owners of the reef have put a ban on fishing in the area close to the wharf because they want to regenerate the reef, but these invaders seem to be doing much more damage than any fisherman.. I guess ill look at getting them out of the water into the sun. Thanks Bob Glen <You are welcome my friend. As stated, I would take this opportunity to gather data... and perhaps publish it. Bob Fenner>

Invasion Biology, Critique of a Pseudoscience Marshall, Not sure how the world of invasive species was going, but I recently started reading the new book, titled above, by David Theodoropoulos and have really enjoyed the wealth of information. In case you are not aware of it, here is a website for the book: www.invasionbiology.org . It covers numerous cases of claimed biological catastrophes and provides follow-up information that debunks the claims. It also delves into the psychology of the groups that promote these claims and how they operate in order to justify, in the extreme, extermination of rare species just hundreds of miles from their native ranges. Anyway I thought I would pass it on. By the way Jaubert has presented his recent Caulerpa taxifolia survey work at a conference and hopes to have it in print later this year. Regards, Tom Frakes <Thanks for cc'ing me on this Tom. Will post/share. Bob Fenner>

Report on Larval fish Hi Bob, Anthony or anyone else, I am a fish collector friend on Tim McLeod in Fiji and I'm hunting for a report Tim mentioned to me that Bob had told him about a few years ago. It was an article or report on the effect jet ski's or marine jet engines or maybe boat propellers have on planktonic larval fish. I think it showed the larvae were destroyed in large numbers as they pass through the jet pump and in large volume. Any help would be great. Best Regards, Fenton Walsh <Sorry for the late response, and am back out for a couple weeks more shortly. Will have to go to SIO library re, unless we're fortunate and the reference is listed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sourcessiv.htm An archived version of the PP presentation in which the citing was used. Bob Fenner>

Stomping for Bio-Genesis, venting for its and goodness sake My name is M. J.  Allex. I have been around and involved in this industry for the past 20 years. At this time, however, I am not involved other than as a consultant for building/designing and installing dry systems in offices, displays, and private estates and having a sub contractor come in and set up the systems to functionality. I accidentally ran onto your website today and was wondering if you are familiar with a product called Bio-Genesis? <Have heard of it. Don't think it's still about.> While in Alaska, I set up various chiller systems and several giant systems for commercial usage, and used this as a feeding supplement for newly established systems. I did not, at that time recall where it came from though. I do know the owners name was Pete something or other.. lol Maybe from Florida? Cannot remember. I am in Colorado now and have taken a hiatus from doing anything fresh or marine or consulting for the past several years, due to the lack of interest in the industry and my hard headed-ness on the transport and collection of live corals/fish and invertebrates. I have been to Fiji, Indonesia, Mexico and Hawaii collecting all of the above with private individuals and have witnessed the use of Cyanide in several instances. <Of the locations listed, I hope only in Indo.> I am pro-net (caught), personally. For some years while in Alaska, I trans-shipped many thousands of boxes of sea animals to the great state for private citizens and business's and, at one point, became very disgruntled by individuals buying tanks without knowing anything of the responsibilities they were going to encounter or compatibility of animals/fish/inverts, etc. etc. that compromised a growing enclosed ecosystem. <A tough issue to contend with continuously for sure> I have witnessed millions of dollars spent in the past 20 years, and am quite frankly, disgusted by the lack of education offered to new aquarists by most retail outlets or private financiers of any type of enclosed water system. <I have redirected similar concerns energy into making content (articles, books, websites) to improve this situation> It seems to me to be all about the mighty dollar! My articles were based on knowing nothing to advanced reefkeeping to the latest achievements and breakthroughs in the hobby. Both fresh and marine, as I have been in both worlds and love them equally. I also invented several types of  Berlin/skimmer/algal control systems, (chilled), both fresh and reef for the frigid waters in Alaska, for fish/reef keepers there. I did write several articles also for a magazine called The Breeders Digest that came out in Alaska in the early 90's by a fellow name Jim Thayer out of Pennsylvania that was widely circulated, taught many classes on environments of fresh and marine keeping, ran several outlets of my own, trans-shipped for many years as well. As I have not been "in the loop" for several years, I do not know if he even has the magazine anymore. <Me neither>   Anyway, enough of my venting, as it were, on the subjects mentioned. I found the articles and displays AND selections, AND methods, very attractive to reefkeepers and saltwater hobbyists in general (on your website). This is why I am e-mailing you in essence, to say thank you for taking a stand for the industry and the hobbyist by selling top quality livestock <We don't sell livestock> and providing articles and references that are beneficial to keeping something that if not taken seriously, may be just a memory except for big business or museums or public displays........Enjoying our natural splendors in the privacy of our home or business and setting them up our own way. I am almost inspired to take it up at this point but my common sense takes me to a better place.. I hang out in Zihuatanejo, Mexico for months at a time on vacation and see things in the wild that are better left in the wild! Thank you for doing a great job. Good luck and continued success! M. J. Allex <Thank you. If you run across images, even "old" written accounts and would like them re-issued, please send them along. Bob Fenner>

Reflections on the trade, cyanide use Thank you for such a quick response, Bob F.!! I will try to run across an article or two and stay in touch w/you re: same. <Ah, good> Yes, it was in Indonesia. I was in Irian Jaya and went to the coast with an expedition just for topical and ended up watching the local "collectors" go about their business. I was infuriated by the whole ordeal. How cruel it was to see thousands of fish, beautiful upon discovery, float out from the corals, stunned by the Cyanide and then scooped into nets, dumped into tubs on a boat and taken to another boat where they were "rinsed out" and packed up. <The last time I thought someone was going to shoot me, my camera gear was confiscated in Bali in '94... among other things, documenting the use of cyanide and dynamite fishing there> Needless to say, at that point, Bob, I was asked to vacate the boat and stay aboard the transfer vessel for the remainder. I was, very vocal of the method of capture to say the least!! But...One good thing that DID come out of this mess was a fellow who was formerly catching with Cyanide, now uses only nets to catch and collect. He saw what was happening. <Do wish all would... incredibly self-defeating to "kill off" ones livelihood, customers... diminish the productive capacity of the source...> Evidently, after my visit there, the transfer vessel Captain gave them raises to collect with nets. He was the only one who accepted. Again- Mike <And so it goes. Bob F>

Re: your website on coral mortality Hi Bob Thanks for your site - a job well done, very informative and I like the presentation. Just for your info re: Parrotfishes - there are currently 89 recognised species (Bellwood, 1994) and most of those species that scrape or excavate on coral reefs actually redistribute existing sediment, rather than producing it (Bruggeman, 1995). If you need more info on these references I can provide you with such. Also it is not necessary to say 'living coral polyps' as all coral polyps are alive, although I agree that this small redundancy is not so important. <Ah, merci. Want/ed to state that many Parrotfish species scrape "previously" live coral matrix as well.> Hope you are getting the input you had hoped for when you put this site together <More and more. Thank you again. Bob Fenner> Andrea Bullock Laboratoire de Biologie Marine Concarneau, France

Commercial fishing concern Hi crew, I'm 15 years old and doing a project on commercial fishing.  I have a reef tank, and I have taken an interest in preserving the environment.  As you know, this is quite a controversial topic....I for one am very against it.  I need a lot of primary sources and was wondering if any of you have seen commercial fishing methods in action.  If so, what is your feelings on it?  Thank you so much for any help. <I have a degree in fisheries biology... and am semi-up to date on commercial fisheries issues. Overexploitation of stocks is a very real and valid concern... and a good deal of modern technology makes overharvesting too easy, but by virtue of this same technology we (humans) derive more than one hundred million tons of aquatic source protein a year... vastly improving the quality of life for many people... And more and more of these food sources are aquacultured, not wild-collected. What would you do to improve the worlds aquatic resources? Bob Fenner>

reef destruction Hiya, I'm a college student, currently prepping a paper on the destruction of the world's reefs, and what is lost because of it. In my search for information, I considered the idea of an interview with someone with firsthand knowledge of coral reefs. So, would it be possible to arrange an online interview with one of the WWM crew on the subject? If so, I'd be very grateful. E-mail, chat, or even good, old-fashioned snail mail would work just fine. Send me an answer, and either way, thank you in advance. <Have broadcast to our Crew. And ask that you please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sourcesmortworldreefs.htm Bob Fenner> -Jacob L. Barringer

Very depressing (state of coral reefs pitch) I just read an article on MSNBC about coral reefs on the decline. http://www.msnbc.com/news/799165.asp?0dm=C1ALT . It amazes me that the fish collectors blow the crap out of the reefs just to get a few fish. How can they not see that they are destroying there livelihood. <To some, "the ends must justify these means"... poor, and/or stupid, desperate, and/or greedy people exhibit amazing (to me) poor behavior.> I don't drive my car till it runs out of gas and wonder how that happened. <The engine> I know I have to re-fill the tank, now and again. <If you expect it to run, yes. Life is a series of experiences, choices, reflections by which we gleam and choose our destinies, including acts to influence others. Choose well. Bob F.>

info? (coral use, relativity, facts) Hi Bob, I was hoping you could help me locating some info . I wanted to write a rebuttal to an article on coral reef destruction in August "Skin Diver". In this article they lump harvesting for aquariums in with global warming, deforestation and coastal development saying "these reckless agents of death continue to fuel the countdown" Inferring that we are causing the end of coral reefs. I was hoping that being the "fact man" you could help me locate some ammo to rebut with hard facts. Not just hearsay and innuendo. Who would have the info on how much and of what is imported and exactly what is the impact on the corals. Trying to protect our hobby's image :) Brett L. <Take a read through the review of the WCMC's report posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WCMCRepRev.htm and the linked input/response file... I have a few copies of this report about if you can use, would like one. Additionally, there is a worthwhile version of a pitch I gave at the last MACNA on "Sources of Mortality on the World's Reefs": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sourcesmortworldreefs.htm and other areas dealing with ethics issues on WWM you can Google search. Bob Fenner>

Re: Just forwarding 'em on (preserving nature... breeding exotics) <Thanks Rob. Will post this interesting bit on WWM. Bob Fenner> Dear Brian: I am contacting you for your help to perpetuate species...After traveling extensively, Asia, So & Central America, it is a "no-brainer" that the leading cause of extinction is lack of environment...Your help is needed to POST or FORWARD the internet address for a petition to allow individuals to raise exotic animals. The zoos do not have enough space to maintain the genetic pools necessary for the survival of species. We recently lost Madame Cauldrons Calaboss Monkey, much less many reptiles etc. The internet address is as follows: WWW.altpet.net/petition/index.shtml Your help is greatly needed to ensure the survival of species. Sincerely, Robert Cusack THE NATURAL HISTORY MALL NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY POSTERS / PHOTOS / CD'S CURIOS OF THE NATURAL WORLD FOSSILS / GEMS & STONES / SPECIMENS WORLDWIDE EXOTIC PET & PLANT MARKET BREEDERS / GROWERS / IMPORTERS / EXPORTERS EXOTIC PRODUCTS MADE FROM NATURAL MATERIALS HANDICRAFTS / ART WORKS / CLOTHING ARTICLES Hi Robert! Like yourself, I have traveled the wilderness areas of the world - since 1965 (my first visit to the tropics). I grew up in the wildness area of the Olympic Rain Forest in Washington. In '76 I was making shipments of exotics from Honduras and made my first trip to Miami to visit customers, including 'Pet Farm'. We had a lot of new wildlife regulations to deal with and the owner told me the new regulations are a result of the animal rights movement and their stated goals to save species and to eliminate the ownership of any and all animals - including zoos! It did not take a rocket scientist to see what an irrational approach these people had to saving species! Anyone with common sense and a little experience could see that habitat destruction is responsible for 90% of the threat - not commercial exploitation. In fact the most logical method of survival for most pressured species is captive breeding - and that requires commercial trade of the animals to increase their 'value status' and breeding availability. It did not take long to recognize the exploitive nature of most of these conservation organizations. People at the top of these organizations could enjoy economic and political power by manipulating people's emotions over the so called 'abuse of animals - exotic & domestic'. Like a new religion, much information was taken on faith by the followers who slavishly donated time and money for the so called benefit of wildlife, when in actuality it was mostly for the benefit of a few leaders of the organizations - not the animals in question. And like most religions - it produced an army of hypocrites who continued to eat and use animal products! Not only that, but like most mindless acts of good intentions, the exact opposite was accomplished by most of the laws and regulations enacted under the sponsorship of the conservationists. Species around the world have been condemned to extinction through the 'no touch' policies, as their habitats dwindled to a size unable to sustain their continued existence. It is no mystery that many government officials world-wide have no qualms about going along with the various animal rights programs. They derive both political and direct economic benefits for themselves - the stuff needed for their own top goal of political survival. So is there a chance for sanity and species salvation with the environmental scammers and political whores running the show? Only if we can educate the public. The pendulum may be ready to swing back the other way, so I am encouraged to see efforts like yours and will forward your message and post your link. "God save us from those who want to save us." Brian PS: Happy 4th of July!

Ethical Concerns re Providing Appropriate Livestock, Information Bob... <My friend>   Antoine here, bud.   Please look into the sent folder and read the message titled Diatom Filter. I went off a on a soapbox (nothing crazy) about the trade with Atlantic collectors. Not at all directed to the mailer... but a sequel to my soapbox with his question. <Okay>   I have seen for a decade now and you have seen for far longer I'm sure, collectors/wholesalers trying to move inappropriate animals through the most disgusting means ( I once saw Sea Critters FL offer orange spot filefish in box lots for $2.99 each when they were trying to expand their inventory with Pacific/Philippine transshipped fishes. they had this special for months!). I do believe that many such collections have been discouraged (like obligate polyps feeding butterflies and Spanish Dancers not seen by the ton anymore but by the kilo <G>)as evidenced in dealers tanks through informed consumer trends. However... it seems to me that so many of the Atlantic collectors have shifted from offering the Atlantic aposymbiotic tree sponges, gorgonians and Flame Scallops on sale in droves on stock lists to now sending them as standard freebies with every shipment/purchase! Ughhh. It really irritates me when they have to pass hardy encrusting sponges and symbiotic gorgonians to collect them! Ha! Well not literally, but you know what I mean... why bother to collect such challenging animals when so many other hardy ones are available. For the record.. I certainly don't believe that they should NEVER be collected, but rather not made available for impulse purchases by novice aquarists or worse... thrust upon novice aquarists/anybody to be put in reef and fish tanks not set up at all for filter feeders. I'm willing to break a few eggs to make an omelets by downplaying their availability and seeing them provided on request to increases the odds that better husbandry will be learned by a focused group that will pursue said animals (carrying a few killers along with them...heehee). <Mmm>   It sticks in my craw something terrible because it feels like I get at least one request weekly through the mail asking for help with this exact situation. <I have lived this for decades>   My real concern addressing you with it is that for some stupid reason I asked this chap if it was Tampa Bay Saltwater... because they seem to be one of the biggest purveyors of starving aposymbionts. Still... I'm thinking that perhaps you may want to clip that from my post or even clip the post all together. On one hand.. the truth is the truth and informed aquarists wanna know and need to know when there is an industry concern that needs to be addressed ("hey, buddy... shape up or we'll take our dollars elsewhere!")... but on the other hand, I always want to do what serves the greater/greatest good.   Do let me know your thoughts please...   I'm bummed out a little... shaking it off. Antoine <To stave off my misgivings re the apparent apathy and/or ignorance of others in the trade (and life in general) I have "adopted" (perhaps cultured is a better term) the active stance of challenging, that is to state, less than gently querying such providers, purveyors with questions re their intent, causality in such dealings. To wit, have you sent your position statements to Tampa Bay? Others in the "Atlantic" supplier set you refer to? I will, would do so.    As to your sentiments and rationale, I am in total agreement/confluence. Bob Fenner, who just changed a few spellings>

Re: New/Aquarists misguided by purveyors of aposymbiotic sponge, gorgonia and bivalves Bob... thanks as always for the clarity and direction. Yes... with a clear head (notice I did not say clear mind <G>?) I think I will subscribe a position statement on the subject. Indeed, I have no delusions about saving the world, our reefs or even friends from buying used Michael Bolton albums (... well, maybe one of those things I strive passionately for)... but I certainly want to contribute when I can. <You do my friend> And in this case I feel that I have seen enough fellow aquarists misguided and then disappointed to watch part of the reef they admire so much die so quickly (often with disastrous results to the rest of the system for especially new aquarists) from insensitive purveyors of challenging to keep livestock. Too many places promoting inappropriate animals (http://www.gulf-view.com/gorgonian.html, http://www.tbsaltwater.com/price.html and more... Ughhh! Scallops, wild seahorses, pipefish, filter feeders/sponges, et cetera to mostly new aquarists... a seemingly endless stream of uninformed consumers). What is your opinion on the collection of such animals presently known to be most difficult to sustain (say... assuming species with over 90% mortality in 6 months from collection... something far and away scary-dismal survivability)? Not to be collected at all? if so how to we leave the door open for study and advancements in husbandry?). <My position is "fairly" obvious... more of the Roger Bacon'ish not so "invisible hand"... to count on consumers to "do their part" in being informed, conscientious... in addition to prompting, urging, cajoling the purveyors to due diligence (pretty much the same) in providing such/all livestock/life. Have thought this issue over many times, and at depth.... as my involvement is not just com- but implicit. I do not perceive myself (or my friends, associates as you) as simply "pushing G/god for a dollar"... but instead "turning the human world on" to what the living world is, their place (chosen, revealed) is as part of it... G/government strictures re what can be kept, how to keep it will not serve to promote these ends, or ultimately to protect any real part of the environment... So I don't look for improvement t/here in modifying feelings, actions (witness the hundreds of billions being stolen, thrown away vis a vis "the tobacco co." swindle. I do trust human nature... to stumble in increments generally forward toward a greater overall understanding, and consumer demand for value... And you and I (and others) can and are doing exactly what I hope for, offering inspiration, information, assisting others in their own growth, success with captive husbandry, understanding... with books, articles, and yes, thank goodness for the internet, our free websites> Placing some of the burden on the vendors to fairly advise their clientele on husbandry? (ehhh... doesn't seem realistic). Of course, I know you have spent a lifetime trying to inform consumers to be better educated... to yield their most powerful weapon: where to spend their dollar. <This does actually happen... People/end-users voting with their dollars and feet do direct the markets> But my beef specifically is with the exploitation of the uninformed that haven't been fairly guided yet or educated on necessary husbandry for challenging aquarium creatures. I guess I'm asking because I don't know exactly what it is I would say in a position statement just yet. <Then keep thinking your position through. You will know> What I really would like to see is the reduced collection of (presently) the most challenging species. And for the decreased collection of said animals, their trade price would/should go up accordingly (a perk to the insensitive collectors). As such, there would be a reduced consumption of these creatures so freely by resellers and subsequently by consumers on impulse. It's the discount wholesale slaughter of these animals that gets me so impassioned! <I have a proposition for you that will go some way to satisfying, fulfilling both our passions on this topic: To write, have published works on species to avoid, reasons for same, direction to more appropriate forms. I will help co-write if you'd like, and/or provide you editing, images. You will have saved uncountable life, helped others, and redeemed yourself> Arghhh! I could rant and ramble for too long about this. Thanks again for the insight.. I shall try to take our weekly queries about these poor creatures with greater composure and resolve to make that position statement. Any recommendations on "how many is too many" for use of the "F" word and its derivatives in just such a position statement? Hmmm... <Swearing is only advisable as/if it adds considerably to your force of argument. "Speak the simple truth" if you know it and your words will echo like thunder my friend> I'll have to give it some more thought <G> Thanks, bud Antoine <Make it known which group, organisms you'd like to start on. Bob Fenner>

hi bob <Bob is out of the country right now. Anthony Calfo and I are filling in answering most of the daily questions.> do you have any reasons that are good and bad for fishing? <I am not sure what exactly you mean. Bob wrote and has presented a pitch called "Sources of Mortality on the Worlds Reefs, An Aquarist's Perspective", located here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sourcesmortworldreefs.htm  Perhaps this would be of help to you. If not, just reply with more details and one of us would be more than happy to help however we can.> can you e-mail then to me if you do please thanks sam <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Subject: society islands Bob et. al. <"et al." crew member Anthony Calfo in your service> recently I took a cruise in the society islands (Tahiti),  <I'm green with envy... and just in time for Saint Patrick's day... somebody hook me up with a tasty Guinness beer!!!> I was stunned and amazed at the abundance of life, 3ft triggers, lemon sharks, urchins out the wazoo, and the most gorgeous blue and purple encrusting montiporas I have ever seen,  <wait till they build a new resort there and the cruise liners flock and spew> (butterflies, wrasses, Picassos, undulates, acros, and to my amazement MAXIMAS HUGE!!). My question is this, we were told on the ship that it is illegal in these islands to take shells or corals off the beach (I assumed this meant let alone anything live, though it was very tempting to try to get a small frag of the encrusting montiporas and bring it back, though the thought of rotting in a French jail outweighed any thoughts, hmm jail, or farming rare montiporas?).  <its only illegal if you get caught...hehe. Just joking> My question is this, is it possible to get one of these highly vibrant encrusting montiporas and do these islands export?? Was the ship lying or telling the truth about taking shells, I thought it odd that the locals were selling them!!!!!!!!!! <hmmm... I'm interested to hear Bob chime in on this one, but I do not doubt that this is true. It is very necessary for such casual collection (albeit small) to be controlled for the sake of the reef and the local industry (the local island vendors). No different than labor unions in America... live by the sword, die by the sword... or rather, practice what you preach as they say> our customs were much more intensive than theirs! I know that if such laws do exist, they are meant to prevent the destruction of reef and habitat caused by the average, uneducated non-reefer (the thought of people taking live acros or other sps, killing them and the dying them for souvenirs makes me want to form a new radical form of greenpeace which specifically protects reef habitat and corals!!  <agreed...but who is qualifies to subjectively say who else is qualified to take live specimens and who is not? A slippery slope indeed> I am more than willing to send pictures if interested <do send pictures, we may recognize the species as one available from another legal/more convenient channel> While I have your attention, I would like to share a comment on my reefing experience. While I suffered many deaths until I found Bob's book and GARF, I have had tremendous success since. I have purchased crappy brown acros, and within 2 weeks they change to a beautiful color, its almost like treasure hunting!! My only failure seems to be linkias, perhaps my trates are right above the line they care for, I know acros can be incredibly resistant once acclimated! While I was out of town I did lose an urchin, possibly due to the giant rotting linkia I cant find (I am combating with water changes, God I wish I had a bigger tank, I have a 55 with 5 fish). I do have a 160, unfortunately (poor me), I have a show Brazilian Queen that my wife thinks is a dog! Honestly, this fish is ultra intelligent, they never cease to amaze me (even corals, they seem to learn when you regularly feed the and come out accordingly, amazing!) <do resist most if not all Linkia species (especially the Blue Linkias)... the many wonderful Fromia species are hardier as a rule and every bit as colorful> Thanks a million for research and for sharing your findings <a pleasure. Anthony Calfo>

Re: Fw: Channel Islands MPA Meeting March 7th FYI Bobby - even though you can't influence the san Diego union, you could arrange to be influential at this <Thanks Tonester. Bob F.> TL&C, t Mark A Chadwell wrote: > To any and all concerned. > Mark Chadwell > Subject: Channel Islands MPA Meeting March 7th > Announcement! > The CA Fish & Game Commission's upcoming hearing on Marine Protected > Areas is next week! > We encourage the public to attend to learn more about the establishment > of marine reserves in the Channel Islands (many feel that the Channel > Islands will set a precedent for San Diego's coastal areas). Currently, > less than 1% of the waters of the Channel Islands - a National Park, > National Marine Sanctuary and International Biosphere Reserve are fully > protected. It's possible that 25% may be protected for future > generations. > Meeting Information: > Thursday, March 7, 2002 > Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute > Shedd Auditorium > 2595 Ingraham Street, San Diego, CA 92109 > Visit: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/fg_comm/ for more information

Cool Graphic (Coral Reefs) Here is a cool graphic on coral reefs around the world. --> http://www.cnn.com/interactive/world/0202/coral.reef/frameset.exclude.html <Very nice. Remind me to show you the coral reef book am reviewing. Bob Fenner> Mike

cyanided cardinal??? Bob, A quick question for you, and a bit of a mystery to me. One week ago today, I purchased 4 Bangaii Cardinals. Unfortunately, they have not fared as well as my other livestock, and from their behavior/mortality rate, I was wondering if you feel there may be a possibility they were collected via cyanide techniques, and if so, if there is a way of saving the remaining specimen(s). Within 12 hours of placement, 1 perished. A couple of days ago, a second one died mysteriously, and now a third is laying on the bottom, leaning against a rock and "gasping" (rapid/exaggerated mouth and gill movement). All four specimens have been extremely lethargic during the time I've had them... even at night. So much so that when showing the new acquisition to a family member they thought there were plastic fish hanging in the tank. All other livestock is doing well (fishwise: 3 damsels, 2 yellow tangs, 1 scooter blenny, 1 clown, 1 pink pseudochromis) in a 90 Gallon reef. All invertebrates/corals are fine as well. All tank measurements/parameters are fine. I'm figuring the "gasper" is probably beyond being saved and will die within the next few hours. Is there anything I can do for him, or the only remaining "healthy" specimen?  <Unusual... I agree... considering the size of your system, the other livestock... that they don't seem to be acting strangely... I think there may well be "something" wrong with these cardinalfishes... in their transport, acclimation... But not cyanided... almost all are captive produced... and the ones in the wild are not hard to hand collect... no need for poisons in their capture> In the 5 months the tank has been set up, outside of the "starters" I've only lost 1 other fish, and I hate it when it happens. My wife ends up naming all of the fish, and cries when they die. Any thoughts to saving the remaining cardinal? Could these have been collected via cyanide (suspicious after reading section in TCMA)? <Again, not at all likely... have you talked with your supplier? Others who bought fish from this "batch"?> Thanks again for your help... past/present/future. <You are welcome my friend. Bob Fenner> Matt

Question (Is pet-fishing ruining the planet? Not!) Hello Bob, haven't spoken in some time. How are you? <Fine> Q: I read in the latest edition of Marine Fish & Reef that indications suggest that the marine pet fish trade will be severely restricted or even halted in the near future. What is your take on this? <Picture painted is much more bleak than reality... hope to be had in captive propagation of key invertebrates... many fishes... We can't all work for the government I'll assure you> I know that the issue is paramount upon the minds of environmentalists and hobbyists alike and has been for some time. <It's ludicrous to even consider semi-seriously... Of all the sources of mortality on the world's reefs, pet-fishing lists about at the bottom... and high on bringing joy and awareness to humans. You want to "make things better"? Get rid of military ships, anchors, destructive fishing practices, using the "substrates" there for cement, road building... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sourcesmortworldreefs.htm My pitch at the MACNA XIII (last): Sources of Mortality on the World's Reefs. Bob Fenner>

Re: Anemones at Pulau Ubin Bob I reckon there are close to 20,000 pieces of such anemones in the sand flats at Pulau Ubin alone. And this is not counting the tube anemones, sponges as well as Seahorses. <Amazing> Me and my friends will be happy just to harvest about 100 pieces a day for the next 2 months and sell them to local exporters. I am not sure if it is legal but if there's big money to be made from nothing- why not. <Not big money... but worthwhile rather than just seeing them destroyed. Bob Fenner> Perry

Re: Chek Jawa Beach Hi Bob Check out this link http://habitatnews.nus.edu.sg/news/chekjawa/ Perry <Wow, can't wait for all the world's habitats, the entire collective knowledge, attempts at wisdom to be linked and presented in a similar fashion. Bob Fenner>

STI News: Chek Jawa reclamation decided after careful study This message was forwarded to you from Straits Times Interactive (http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg) by perrychong@hotmail.com Comments from sender: I wonder how URA came to the conclusion that the seagrass in the Chek Jawa area can't support Dugongs. <Perhaps study... perhaps ask them... perhaps economic/political expediency> 2 years back they found 2 dugongs near the shores of Pulau Ubin. The mother was already dead but they managed to transport the calf back to Underwater World and charging divers $70 to dive with it.What do you know about Dugongs Bob? Are they nocturnal feeders? <Sirenians? Eat mainly during the day. Can/do move, eat at times during darkness> Chek Jawa reclamation decided after careful study I REFER to Dr Geh Min's letter, 'Chek Jawa's natural beach should be preserved' (ST, July 16). The letter highlighted the dilemma our planners face in trying to meet the pressures of physical development of Singapore to facilitate economic development, while trying to retain as much of our natural heritage as possible. As a city-state, we also have to provide for other critical land-use needs, like water-catchment areas and military training grounds. The reclamation that affects Tanjong Chek Jawa at the eastern tip of Pulau Ubin was approved in 1992. The reclamation profile was subsequently reflected in the Development Guide Plan in 1997 and the Master Plan in 1998. With public feedback that Pulau Ubin should remain as it is for now, the island has been largely zoned as 'open space and reserve land' in the 2001 Concept Plan. This is a change from the 1991 Concept Plan, which envisaged housing on Pulau Ubin. With this change, Pulau Ubin will stay undeveloped for as long as possible. However, the reclaimed land in Pulau Ubin which is reflected as 'reserve land' will be for the Ministry of Defence's military training use. This is part of a long-term plan to ensure that we have sufficient land for Mindef's training needs. <Better to plan, move toward getting out of the death business. A dangerous mind-set, mis-direction of resources here... sadly> We would like to assure Dr Geh that the Government is mindful of the need to minimise the impact of reclamation on the environment where possible. The Housing Board had therefore commissioned a study to determine the impact of the reclamation on dugongs. The study concluded that the sea grass in the area is patchy and not abundant, and the area does not appear to have a resident population of dugongs. Hence, the reclamation would not have any significant impact on a dugong population. In addition, the study concluded that the area does not have any established coral reefs or reef communities, nor would the conditions favour the development of such. Currently, the National Parks Board is also working on transplanting plants that will be affected by the reclamation work to other parts of the island. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has been looking at retaining features and places that reflect the identity of a place where these can be suitably integrated into the planning and development of an area. For instance, in the 2001 Concept Plan, the existing nature areas at Sungei Khatib Bongsu and Sungei China mangroves at Woodlands have been proposed to be integrated with parks. It will be a constant challenge for the URA to satisfy the needs of Singaporeans for housing, work and recreation. <Without limiting human population, yes> We thank Dr Geh for her feedback and interest in Singapore's physical development. ANG HWEE SUAN Head (Public Relations) for Chief Executive Officer Urban Redevelopment Authority IP Address: <Be chatting (and hopefully diving) my friend. Bob Fenner>

STI News: Destruction of Chek Jawa will be a loss for all This message was forwarded to you from Straits Times Interactive (http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg) by perrychong@hotmail.com Comments from sender: You will get to see photos of some of the marine life at chek jawa when you receive the NSS magazine. <Can't wait> Destruction of Chek Jawa will be a loss for all I READ with concern the letter, 'Chek Jawa reclamation decided after careful study' (ST, July 27), about the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) plans for Tanjong Chek Jawa. I took five families to view the sandflats there on Sunday morning. The tide was very low then. We were mesmerised by what we saw. The diverse marine life trapped in the tidal pools was exactly what Dr Geh Min alluded to in the letter, 'Chek Jawa's natural beach should be preserved' (ST, July 22): 'It was like a gift from Heaven.' There were numerous large carpet anemones, different coloured peacock anemones, huge horned sea stars, common sea stars, sand stars, brittle stars, sponges, sea cucumbers, coral fishes, an assortment of crabs, sand dollars and much more which I had problems identifying. <Neat> The children had a busy time reflecting on what they saw. It was definitely a feast for the senses. This dazzling display is such a rare sight in Singapore. <I'll wager this is so... a modern country made up of a few million people on a tiny piece of land...> To this day, I remain spellbound by the newly-discovered treasures. I was elated yet sad that I had not known about the site earlier. I am now even more sad that all these will be lost to land reclamation. <I am always wary of "titles" like "land reclamation"... what does this name have to do with covering over the existing habitat with rubble to make more human-use space? "Land"? "Reclamation"? Let's call this what it is, wetlands, beach covering/destruction by covering with novel materials. A similar project is going on south of Latouka in Viti Levu in Fiji... same terminology... dumping soil on the intertidal area out a few hundred feet along tens of kilometers of beach... How many more of these "improvement" projects are going on around the planet? Bob Fenner> CHUA EE KIAM IP Address:

Chek Jawa's natural beach should be preserved This message was forwarded to you from Straits Times Interactive (http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg) by perrychong@hotmail.com Article from the Straits Times on Tanjong Chek Jawa Chek Jawa's natural beach should be preserved ONE of the most embarrassing questions I am frequently asked by visitors to Singapore is this: 'Singapore is a tropical island but where are your natural beaches?' It is difficult to explain that under the pressure of rapid economic development, which has made Singapore the success story it is today, we could not afford to keep most of our natural coastline. We are not lacking in beaches, but almost all are man-made, and anyone who has experienced the real thing will tell you that there is a vast difference between the two. Natural beaches have a rich diversity of marine and shore flora and fauna which man-made beaches lack. It is like comparing genuine laksa with a packaged, instant variety. The latter is just not lemak. I recall the excitement when Tanjong Chek Jawa was discovered last December off the eastern tip of Pulau Ubin. Here was a beautiful, pristine beach that had more extensive sand flats than Labrador Beach (a designated nature area); a beach forest that contained many rare plants and marine life, such as extensive beds of seagrass which are the only food source for the internationally-endangered dugong; and mangrove and rocky shores rich with treasures for both life scientists and the average Singaporean to discover. It was like a gift from heaven. But this wonderful discovery has its tragic side. Chek Jawa will soon be irrevocably destroyed by land reclamation. The draft Concept Plan 2001 has stated that Pulau Ubin will stay undeveloped for as long as possible. It has also stated that, in addition to buildings, the Urban Redevelopment Authority will look into features and places that reflect the identity of an existing area. These can be integrated into the planning and development of a town or an estate. The Government is prepared to invest heavily in education and research in the life sciences. It is also putting large sums into eco-tourism, as seen in the Southern Islands project. The cost of incorporating Tanjong Chek Jawa as a natural feature in the reclamation of Pulau Ubin would cost a lot less and benefit the life sciences, eco-tourism and all Singa-poreans immeasurably. It is something that should be urgently explored before it is too late. GEH MIN President, Nature Society (Singapore) IP Address: <Ah, yes... the age-old discussion/persuasion of resource utilization/allocation. Glad to see such "waging of wills" in SG... with inclusion of economic considerations... Choose well my friends. Bob Fenner>

MACNA, petfishing, the environment in general Thomas, A follow-up to our brief meeting over the weekend. And a pledge to help your official efforts. Please make it known if I may be of service in providing information, images, text... much of which can be perused on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner

RE: MACNA, petfishing, the environment in general Robert, you can call me Tom. And thank you for getting in touch. I may take you up on your image offer soon, we are redesigning the State web page on the Coral Reef Initiative, and may need a picture or two. <Very well Tom. Do let me know about what you're looking for... have many images that will likely work> I am sorry I did not get to hear more of your talk the other day, I was engaged in something else and just snuck in for the last little bit. If you had an outline of the presentation you could send, I would like to see it. <Yes. Can, will send you a CD version or you may peruse same on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/sourcesmortworldreefs.htm> Although I am an avid diver, and have seen some of the reef damage first hand, I come to this job as an amateur when it comes to the science or even to the quantifiable conditions/threats to the reefs.  <Appreciate your candor> So I am still on the steep part of the learning curve, and dependent on others for a lot of info right now. My initial gut reaction is that you are undoubtedley right, more effort is being spent on controlling the aquarium trade than the problem merits given the relative amount of damage it causes.  <A bold... refreshing statement> I am fighting some of the pitfalls you described, I don't want to spent an inordinate amount of time on this issue when I could be dong more productive things. <I am in total agreement... and very willing to help aid your efforts in any, all cases. As stated at the MACNA pitch I am on no ones payroll (self un-financed), have no axes to grind, palms to grease as the sayings go... Am a "content provider" to dive, pet-fish, travel, and natural history outlets... as you will find by perusing my efforts> I think we do need, however, to keep this issue on the table and continue to work on it for several reasons. One, it is just wrong to be wasteful of the resource -- we don't stop prosecuting murderers just because there is a war on and people are dying by the thousands. <Hmm> Two, dredging, pollution, etc, are "vertical" problems that cause damage to an entire ecosystem in a region, but similar ecosystms may survive the next island over. Collecting is a horizontal problem, and may threaten certain species throughout its range. Different problems require different solutions. <Yes...> Three, if we are not able to show that we are doing this in a sustainable way, we undercut our other efforts. We tell the developer or the farmer that he can't do something on land because he will harm the reef. If he can respond that we are only protecting the reef to exploit it ourselves, we get nowhere. Finally, we can only harp on the global warming and land polluters so much. Most of them are doing all they can to deal with their issues.  <You will discover that this sweeping statement is not so... most of the "unseen" sources of environmental degradation are undisclosed, undiscussed or "off the table" (like the bombing of Vieques... civil servants, grant-recipients in colleges, NGO's don't focus on many of the important sources of mortality because they are "too close to home"> While they do that, we need to tend to our own specific parts of the problem, so if they solve their issues, our house is also in order. <Absolutely... after all it is "the public's money, environment as well"> The last thing anyone wants, I think, is government regulation.  <If it's reasonable, fair and consistent, we actually NEED super-personal, super-community regulation... Tom, the planet and it's consuming peoples is just too crowded to avoid such constraint... think deeply about this my friend. BTW, sorry to have to admit this (only because it is so obvious), but I am given to strong opinion... not necessarily disagreeable as you'll also find...> We all know that if it comes to that, it won't be done well. But it may be better than nothing. So while we are doing what we can overseas to help the reef states manage their resource, I think we also need do be encouraging the MAC's and the AMDA's to bring some standards to the industry.  <The MAC is an as yet very poorly conceived and managed effort... We should talk Paul.H's efforts over... they have no credibility with the "A" players in the trade... the last round of "standards" (the 1% loss... at every level... is idiocy. Not even the best businesses in the trade (Quality, TMC...) who have their own collecting stations have this sort of low incidental loss rate on arrival... It's just an economic hurdle... You can't shoot for this minimal DOA rate and make money... Hello! Four yellow tangs to a coffin box/HI would have to retail for 2,3 times more than they currently do... Anyway... we can/will discuss these issues> So I will continue to work with them and support their effort.  At the same time, I appreciate the cautions you raised in your talk about spending so much time stomping on this ant that I don't get trampled by the elephant. <Yes my friend... wisdom in your words> I know you have heard all of these arguments before, but it is useful for me at this point to practice articulating them. I look forward to visiting your web page and hope you will help keep me focused in our future correspondence. Regards, Tom. <And useful for me to hear them... Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

A Big Offer from the Publisher (JML of Microcosm/TFH) Bob, Good to see you and Di at MACNA. I apologize for missing your talk-- I had already come in and put down my case and note pad but you were still setting things up, so I went down for a Starbucks. Charlie Veron and John Jackson were there and shanghai-ed me into going along to the Aquarium with them. <I understand... have posted the pitch on WetWebMedia: http://wetwebmedia.com/sourcesmortworldreefs.htm if you'd like to see it. Or there's always CJ and Richard's videographic recording...> In any case, I promised TFH to do a piece on the conference, and if you have a copy of your notes or your text, I would like to mention your talk. Please send anything you've got, or I'll give you a call in a few days. <Real good James... feel free to glean what you can from WWM, let me know if I can be of further aid. Bob Fenner> Cheers, James

Re: A Big Offer from the Publisher (JML of Microcosm/TFH) Bob, Sheesh! So sorry I missed the talk. I heard that you did a great job, and it appears that you really presented some good material. ("Kill your jet ski!") <Yes, have noted a Sea Doo van circling the block here... a hit man or two on me fo'sho. If I go "swimming with the fishes" do implicate them> If you had this written up in article form, I bet M. Sweeney would buy it. (I'll even edit it for you (anonymously) if that would help. She won't know what hit her.) <Doggone it James... I looked over and over for Mary, and didn't see her. Did have a very nice introduction to James Fatherree (we walked the Aquarium tour together). Do ask her if she'd consent to running the piece... and we'll co-author it (think of the moolah! Let's do McDonalds! And any, other pond, aquarium works she might consider... I need exposure and cash! Bob Fenner>

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