Something not so positive....

Discussion in 'Diving, Collecting and Environmental Discussions' started by FransSny, 13 Sep 2010.

  1. FransSny


    16 Oct 2008
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  2. Guest

  3. Perky Pets

    Perky Pets Sponsor

    24 Jun 2010
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    Cape Town
    Very interesting, this is somthing i found related to that article.

    The small, belligerently territorial, threespot damselfish kill portions of coral colonies to grow gardens of algae, which they use as grounds for feeding and nests for breeding. Marine scientists thought that overfishing groupers and snappers in the Caribbean released the threespot damselfish from their predators, allowing them to swarm over the reefs in larger numbers, killing more coral than ever before.
    That idea is wrong, says author Rich Aronson, a coral reef ecologist at the Florida Institute of Technology. "Our surveys of reefs around the Caribbean show that the number of predatory fish is not the key to how many damselfish live on a reef," says Aronson. "It's all about real estate -- places to live."
    Until the 1980s, threespot damselfish tended their gardens in staghorn coral, at the time the most common coral in the Caribbean. Staghorn coral, named for its long, thin branches, grew very fast and could keep ahead of the damselfish onslaught. The threespots preferred staghorn above all other corals for its tangle of branches, which provided ideal places to hide, feed, and nest. Although the threespots bit and killed portions of staghorn colonies, the living branches that remained continued to thrive. But outbreaks of coral diseases, compounded by hurricanes and other environmental insults decimated populations of staghorn coral to the point that it is now listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
    Co-author Les Kaufman is a fish biologist with Boston University and Conservation International. He explains, "Once staghorn coral disappeared, the fierce little beasts switched to killing slow-growing coral heads." Coral heads are a lot less desirable from the damsels' point of view because they have fewer hiding places. Unlike staghorn coral, head-corals cannot recover quickly enough to keep pace with the death-bites of threespot damselfish, so the coral heads could take hundreds of years to recover.
    "Threespot damselfish are limited primarily by habitat," says Kaufman. "They have not been released by fishing to overpopulate reefs, and if anything they are less abundant now." The fossil record shows that threespots commonly exploited staghorn coral on Caribbean reefs for at least the last 125,000 years -- long before those reefs were fished. Aronson adds, "Caribbean reefs changed fundamentally when staghorn coral suddenly disappeared after dominating for hundreds of thousands of years. Threespot damselfish are now killing slow-growing coral heads, much more so than before and regardless of how many predators are around. We strongly advocate conserving fish stocks, but in this case restoring the staghorn populations will be far more effective in fixing the damage."
  4. Broder

    Broder Mudshark

    13 Sep 2007
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    East London
    I think that this hobby will only be able to call itself sustainable if the biggest consumers, ie. the USA(50%), take the lead in applying pressure on the countries that they buy from, to use sustainable collection methods.

    Is CITES not supposed to be the group with the most muscle?

    So what's holding up these changes? I'd hazzard a guess that it's money. Probably the big importers and manufacturers. I hope that they know that if something isn't done soon, a total ban will be the only way to manage the situation.

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