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Related FAQs: Sources of Reef Mortality, Marine Mortality 2, Cyanide and Marine Livestock Collection,

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Related Articles: Use of Marine Life as OrnamentalsCyanide Use,

/The Conscientious Aquarist Series:

Sources of Mortality on the Worlds Reefs, An Aquarist's Perspective

Pt. IV


By Bob Fenner


It's not lost on me that the folks,  organizations taking potshots at aquarium interests operate OPM (on Other People's Money). If they have such great ideas, why not self-sponsor their actions? Why are they so wont to disclose who their sponsors are, or that they're subsidized?

What are the actual goals, intentions of these people?

I am constantly amazed at how little the "official" press calculates as the percentage, amount of captive bred, reared live material produced in the reef interest... by aquarists! How many of the organisms you have in your system came from non-wild sources?

Do you believe only three hundredths of one percent of corals are produced in captivity? Neither do I.

Why should we compel indigenous peoples to live "pastoral existences" of short, hard duration? Doesn't it make more sense to harvest part of otherwise non-edible parts of local environments, sell them for cash, and buy the goods, services you want?

Would these peoples be better off doing nothing with their reef resources? Could they do so?

I see improvements coming in less destructive pumping mechanisms for moving water about, that won't kill so much of the life suspended in water columns.

And more "complete" approaches to set-up, maintenance of captive systems.

Self-explanatory I trust. There are many variably important sources of mortality on the worlds reefs. The pet-fish ones are for the most part diffuse, selective and of minimal importance.
The tremendous gains of having local people collect, sell, protect their environments is a win, win situation for them and the ornamental trade. Other subsistence uses of the same environments result in far greater destruction and little net improvement in living standards.

Richer nations, peoples importing such livestock (cultured and wild-collected) gain in enhanced knowledge, appreciation of the living world... are far more likely to further sponsor research, eco-tourism practices, investment in these environments.

Pet-fish et al. transport for example is a substantial part of the sponsoring of infrastructure of airports around the world. Commerce makes the world "free", not militaries or edicts.

Parrotfish estimated coral sand production:

Bellwood, D.R. and J.H. Choat, 1990 A functional analysis of grazing in parrotfishes (family Scaridae): the ecological implications. Environ. Biol. Fish. 28:189-214.

Choat, J.H., L.M. Axe and D.C. Lou, 1996 Growth and longevity in fishes of the family Scaridae. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 145:33-41.

Claro, R., 1994 Caracter?ticas generales de la ictiofauna. p. 55-70. In R. Claro (ed.) Ecolog? de los peces marinos de Cuba. Instituto de Oceanolog? Academia de Ciencias de Cuba and Centro de Investigaciones de Quintana Roo.

Edwards, A.J. and A.D. Shepherd, 1992 Environmental implications of aquarium-fish collection in the Maldives, with proposals for regulation. Environ. Conserv. 19:61-72.

Frydl, P., 1979 The effect of parrotfish (Scaridae) on coral in Barbados, W.I. Int. Revue ges. Hydrobiol. 64(6):737-748.

Gygi, R.A., 1975 Sparisoma viride (Bonnaterre), the stoplight parrotfish, a major sediment producer on coral reefs of Bermuda. Eclogae geol. Helv. 68(2):327-359.

Kochzius, M., 1997 Length-weight relationship of fishes from a seagrass meadow in Negros Oriental, Philippines. Naga, ICLARM Q. 20(3/4):64-65.

McManus, J.W., C.L. Na?la, Jr., R.B. Reyes, Jr. and K. N. Kesner., 1992 Resource ecology of the Bolinao coral reef system. ICLARM Stud. Rev. 22:117 p.

Murai, M., 1954 Nutrition study in Micronesia. Atoll Research Bulletin No. 27 (January 31). Washington, D.C.

Petrakis, G. and C. Papaconstantinou, 1990 Biology of Sparisoma cretense in the Dodecanese (Greece). J. Appl. Ichthyol. 6:14-23.

Randall, J.E., 1967 Food habits of reef fishes of the West Indies. Stud. Trop. Ocean. Miami 5:665-847.

Reeson, P.H., 1983 The biology, ecology and bionomics of the parrotfishes, Scaridae. p. 166-177. In J.L. Munro (ed.) Caribbean coral reef fishery resources.ICLARM Stud. Rev. 7.

Sano, M., M. Shimizu and Y. Nose, 1984 Food habits of teleostean reef fishes in Okinawa Island, southern Japan. University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo, Japan. 128 p.

Schultz, L.P., 1958 Review of the parrotfishes family Scaridae. Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus. 214:1-143.

Sierra, L.M., R. Claro and O.A. Popova, 1994 Alimentacion y relaciones tr?icas. p. 263-284. In Rodolfo Claro (ed.) Ecolog? de los Peces Marinos de Cuba. Instituto de Oceanolog? Academia de Ciencias de Cuba and Centro de Investigaciones de Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Smith, A. and P. Dalzell, 1993 Fisheries resources and management investigations in Woleai Atoll, Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia. Inshore Fish. Res. Proj., Tech. Doc., South Pacific Commission. Noumea, New Caledonia. 64 p.

Thresher, R.E. and P.L. Colin, 1986 Trophic structure, diversity and abundance of fishes of the deep reef (30-300 m) at Enewetak, Marshall Islands. Bull. Mar. Sci. 38(1):253-272.

Winn, H.E. and J.E. Bardach, 1960 Some aspects of the comparative biology of parrotfishes at Bermuda. Zoologica (N.Y.) 45:29-34.

Bentley, N. 1998. An overview of the exploitation, trade and management of corals in Indonesia. TRAFFIC Bulletin 17(2), 67-78.

Green, Edmund and Frances Shirley. 1999. The Global Trade in Coral, WCMC Biodiversity Series No. 9. World Conservation Press, Cambridge, UK.

Simpson, Sarah. 2001. Fishy business. Poisons used to catch tropical fish for home aquariums devastate reefs. Scientific American, 7/01

Wood, Elizabeth. 2001 (pending). Collection of Coral Reef Fish (sic) for Aquaria: Global Trade, Conservation Issues and Management Strategies and Appendix. Marine Conservation Society (part of  upcoming "guide called the Responsible Marine Aquarist".

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