How Mandarinfish are caught?!?!?!?

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Jaco Schoeman, 10 May 2010.

  1. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman MASA Contributor

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    Hi

    I read this in a Coral Magazine, and wanted to see it for myself. Here is a an article on how wild Mandarin Fish are caught. Within the article it states that this is the best way to do it, basically being the lesser of two evils, but EVIL stays EVIL.

    My question is also, what if they miss? And how many Mandarin fish are just killed in this excersize?

    Mandarinfish…Mini Spearguns and why that’s better than the status quo…

    Part 2….
    Because mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus) spend most of their time hidden away within the reef, they are very difficult to catch using a standard collection net. The high demand within the hobby places a lot of pressure on fishermen to collect as many of these fish as possible. Therefore fishermen often resort to the use of cyanide, which can greatly increase catch rates. However, the overall long-term health of these fish becomes severally jeopardized.
    However, while I was in Bali a promising alternative fishing technique utilizing a miniature speargun emerged from the Philippines. MAC invited in a Filipino fisherman to demonstrate how to build and use this contraption.
    Here a series of photos demonstrates the making of the gun itself:
    Here Ding Dong, the Filipino fisherman/trainer, shows the group of fishermen how the gun will work, and where to shoot the mandarinfish (the tail fin) without causing it any permanent damage.
    [​IMG]
    Then the trainees built their own spearguns utilizing Ding Dong’s advice. First, an impression of the gun is drawn onto the wood.​
    [​IMG]
    Next the gun is carved out of the wood block….​
    [​IMG]
    Here is the rough outline of the carved wooden speargun ( The Balinese have some of the biggest smiles on the planet [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Next, strips of bamboo are cut to form the spear shaft…​
    [​IMG]
    A paper clip is straightened out and then bent in half to create a dual-pronged spear. The ends of the paper clip are sharpened with sand paper.​
    [​IMG]
    The paper clip is then fastened to the end of the bamboo spear shaft with monofilament fishing line…​
    [​IMG]
    Here is the finished gun. The spear is attached to the gun with a long rubber band that provides the thrust to launch it. A plastic straw provides the “barrel” that will ensure a straight shot.​
    [​IMG]
    So now, how does this whole “spear the fish without killing it” thing work out? When the mandarinfish are active at dawn or dusk, they expose themselves much more than they do throughout the rest of the day when they are safe within the coral branches. The fisherman can get close enough with his spear (< 2 feet) that he can aim to shoot the fish right through the tail fin. The dual tip allows the fish to be pinned down against the sand and rubble bottom. The fisherman then has just enough time to catch the fish with his hands, and remove the spear point from the tail. The end result is that the fish only receives two tiny holes in the tail. Of course, I have to ask myself, ” What if they miss the tail, but hit the body?”. I will make myself believe that the learning curve is fast, and that the fishermen are expert shots underwater….​
    [​IMG]
    To anyone who has seen how fast and easily fish can repair and regrow their fins, it becomes apparent how minor this injury really is.​
    [​IMG]
    In a holding tank on Pulau Seribu (1000 Islands), Indonesia I observed about 100 recently caught mandarinfish. Most were already well on their way towards being healed. I would imagine that by the time these fish reach retail aquarium stores, the buyer would have no idea that this was the method that the fish was caught. Which, of course, presents a problem in the sense that it is still impossible to discern a cynanid-caught mandarinfish from a spear-caught fish. Therefore, really the best advice that I could give when it comes to purchasing a mandarinfish is:
    1) Make sure your reef tank is large enough and well-established enough to support a live food population capable of sustaining a foraging mandarinfish. Eventually you might be able to get it to eat frozen or pellet food, but initially don’t count on it.
    2) Only buy a mandarinfish that seems eager and active. Check for sunken bellies, as this is a clear indication that the fish is not eating well, or recieving nutrition. Sometimes even mandarinfish that will eat a little bit will still ultimately waste away. This is most likely the case with many cyanide-caught mandarinfish that initially seem healthy.​
    3) Keep in mind that these beautiful fish come from the wild and are not simply another replaceable aquarium component. Educate yourself as much as possible, and do your best to avoid buying cyanide-caught fish and marinelife.
    4) Seek out aquacultured fish. There is already a company in France that is raising aquacultured mandarinfish, so hopefully it will only be a short time before this fish is more commercially viable as a cultured fish here in the US.

    Source: http://coralmorphologic.com/b/mandarinfishpart2
     
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  3. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    The other major problem here, is that these hunters catch the largest specimens (usually male...) When breeding, mandarin females will seek out the largest male to mate with. If all the males are caught of the reef, the males are forced to mate with younger, smaller and less experienced males, prolonging the mating time, and also producing less healthy offspring.

    Aquacultured Mandarins are high in demand, as mandarins are now well on their way to join the bangai's and seahorses on the red list... :(
     
  4. Anemone

    Anemone

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    Good luck trying to get those numbers out of "Ding Dong"
     
  5. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    I'd like to get a master bowhunter to line up Ding Dong's hunters and shoot them through the neck, against a tree. The hunter must aim just left of the artory, in order not to kill them, as "the wound will heal..."

    Then we can have a look at the number odds...
     
  6. Anemone

    Anemone

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    I wouldn't use a master bow hunter. Even on paper "Ding Dong" can't hit the target! :lol:

     
  7. Boegie

    Boegie

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    Very informative, thanks.
     
  8. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    i hope all of you are vegetarians,dont eat fish etc. and dont have fishtanks with any caught fish
     
  9. Dane

    Dane

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    This is the reality of the hobby...
     
  10. milflo

    milflo

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    Do you guys reckon all other fish are wined and dined and asked nicely to join the aquarium trade?
     
  11. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    lmao
     
  12. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    All valid points yes... Many other fish and coral are treated badly, but hence the importance of propogation and breeding, then none of this would be neccessary. Personally I feel that by the time my 1yr old boy is ready to follow in my footsteps, one maybe wont find wild caught fish anymore. Either cause we've killed all of them or expertise have grown and they are all captive bred.

    And yes, WE are guilty. If EVERY reefer in the world just decided to stop buying Mandarin, there would be no market for them, and they would be left alone, but we all are guilty of buying, so we are keeping the demand alive.

    @mandarinman - the diffs between these "fragile" sepcies and chicken and beef for example, is that chicken and beef aren't caught wild, they are bred. The cruelty is one thing, and as the article states, this is the lesser of two evils, so if this is better, then so be it. My concern is that when will all the "big" males be caught, and the species face extinction?

    I also feel that fisheries should have stricter licenses against them, only allowing them to catch a certain time per year. If this means we as humans can only buy fish products for 6months per year so be it. The amount of fish caught (for our consumption) is very alarming, and I personally can not see how the fish manage to grow to reasonable sizes.

    We are the masters of our own destiny, but at this rate, we are also the judge, juries and executioners.

    At least in the aquarium trade there are people like Marcel (LuckyFish) who tries his best to help relieve the pressure on catching wild fish species. I say there should be more of them, and even maybe government funding to help them.
     
  13. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    well if the govt is funding, they can give me some bucks, cos i am in the process of setting up a mandarin breeding setup and should have everything up and running in three to four weeks.
     
  14. milflo

    milflo

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    I'm first in line for any future success you may have. Was actually considering doing this myself.

    And yes - I support propagation and breeding programmes. My point was merely that people shouldn't show all this moral indignation for one species while there are plenty of others that are also being over fished.
     
  15. magman

    magman

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    HEY HEY!!!!:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup: At long last a speargun that Meks can load, now he can actually join us, instead of being our Gillie only.


    In all seriousnous, this is bad, another reason why we should boycot certain species of fish. As it is Maderins need mature tanks, and them being shot to be captured is making it even worse. At least it is not chemically caught which is lethal. ​
     
  16. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    there is only indignation for the cute ones. i think you should also try breed mandarins, double the chance of getting it right, i think luckyfish will also be doing the same thing soon(the more the merrier)
     
  17. Tremayn

    Tremayn

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    damn evil tiny spear gun!!!!:nono:
     
  18. Anemone

    Anemone

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    Mandarinman, Dane, and milflo,

    So what percentage would you guess are killed this way?
     
  19. Slagter

    Slagter MASA Contributor

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    Woah... I didn't know this was happening! It's crazy... It's cruel... It's criminal! How does one stop these kind of practices though? It's the same in fresh water fish...

    But these practices are far worse with fresh water. FW fish are dyed, mutilated, cross bred, genetically mutated and injected with dye. These are disgusting and inhumane practices. But sadly, once breeding full scale commences of this side of fishkeeping (marine), people will always experiment with crap like that. It's just a demand for something different, which is why the Freshwater trade has started going for wild caught fish again. It's a vicious cycle and it will continue to spiral out of control, until there is no wild populations left. Exactly the same as the Lake Victorian Cichlids.

    But, then there are the people that care and love their fishy inhabitants. Then there are the people who will continue to kill and re-buy, kill and re-buy, etc... What do you do? How difficult is it to breed madarins? I'd love to give it a bash as well... Once my current tank is stable and I am comfortable enough to try breeding marines.
     
  20. Dane

    Dane

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    For many species the mortality rate is higher than 60%. Thats on capture - not including shipping mortality and DOA's.

    Are all our sponsors MAC certified?
     
  21. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish MASA Contributor

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    Hey Dane, any infos for me about the MAC certification? Got a rough idea what it is all about, but just rough.

    Thanks man
     
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