The Greater scheme of things for Aquarists

Discussion in 'Diving, Collecting and Environmental Discussions' started by Kanga, 1 Dec 2007.

  1. Kanga

    Kanga Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    I have been wondering a bit lately about how we as Marine Aquarists affect the world ( Oceans) around us.

    You could argue that Reefkeeping does have a negative impact on the environment, I mean with cyanide catching, blast fishing, over fishing, live rock terrorists etc.

    However the flip side of the coin I would Imagine is that you have thousands of Marine aquarists over the world with more than just a rudimentary knowledge of coral husbandry and fishkeeping. If nothing more at least this amounts some serious awareness across the world.
    And I would have to say the corals and fish in captivity would also help ensure their survival if some environmental disaster (touch wood) would strike. Or am I wrong here?

    Then we have people who across the world who add to and detract from the hobby, some amazing research has been done in resent years. They are now seeing how coral larvae move with currents and why sometimes they cannot attach themselves and so forth. We even had a prominent researcher who let large amounts of coral frags destined for research die in his or his appointee's care. Whatever the reason or the outcome was it didnt look good for aquarists

    I guess what I am asking, are we benefiting our oceans by what we are doing or not, how do non aquarists view what we do and is what we doing right or wrong.

    What do you people think?
     
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  3. calvin

    calvin

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    hi kanga
    Its unfortunate but reefkeepers are infact doing no good to the enviroment! that is simply the bottomline sad but so. however i feel we are becomming more knowlegable on the husbandry of more sensitive species and certain species are not being imported in the numbers that they used to. also we are moving toward captive propacation of coral and fish , I personally feel that within the next 10 years we can halv the amount of sea life that is will collected and still have a thriving and growing hobby dependand mainly on captive stocks!

    just my views

    calvin
     
  4. Kanga

    Kanga Thread Starter Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Well Calvin, at least YOU are doing something about that, as I said before I applaud your efforts, only good can come from it:)
     
  5. Mike

    Mike Retired Moderator

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    I was chatting to my local LFS recently about this subject. Due to the interest we as reefers have generated, the local populations of villages where most of our fish and corals are collected from are now looking after their patch of coral reef, they are preventing lots of "hand grenade fishing" and policing the reefs. They are also collecting the fish and corals themselves and only remove from healthy and sustainable populations - hence the sudden lack or appearance of certain livestocks.
    I fully appreciate the impact that our hobby has (every month when i get the electric bill) but i also believe that we are contributing to the welfare of those reefs and to the better understanding of how the ecosystems within the reef works.
     
  6. Kanga

    Kanga Thread Starter Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=332&ArticleID=4269&l=en

    interesting reading exactly what Wee-Man is saying

    In another example, Sri Lanka earns about US$ 5.6 million per year by exporting reef fish to around 52 countries. The report estimates that 50,000 people in the country are directly involved in the export of marine ornamentals, providing jobs in rural low-income coastal areas and a strong incentive to maintain fish stocks and reef environments in good condition.


     
  7. calvin

    calvin

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    i agree with you in that the collectors themselfs are infact reolising that the old ways of collecting must come to an end for there own good! but there are defnatley fish ,corals and especially anemones still being removed on a non sustainable basis! we mus remember that many collectors are simply poor people trying to feed there families and the enviroment isnt allways first in line..


    calvin
     
  8. Mike

    Mike Retired Moderator

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    Those people we must accept as simply surviving, unfortunately there is still a large number of unscupulous collectors out there purely making quick profits, we, as reefers, must ensure that we do our best to buy only fromm reputable shops.
     
  9. Tridan

    Tridan

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    This is a touchy subject, i agre with both wee man and calvin, and would like to add this to the equasion (spelling) A recent article in the townsville university chronicle applauded the young marine biologists for semi restocking a area of the great barrier reef with specimens that were wild collected for research, the area in concern was one so badly affected by reef walkers that new crushed coral beaches had developed.

    All the colonies that were released were in captivity for research for +- 2 years,
    they are been constantly monitered and are having really good results.

    Now thanks to these guy's a once devestated reef is now rebuilding itself.

    What strikes me is that if these guy's never collected these specimens they never would have been able to repopulate it, pretty cool.

    But the worst part of it is that it never should have got to that piont in the first place.

    As reefkeepers it is our duty to answer the call of mother nature when she asks for help, even if we can not hear it. We are lucky to have a slice of a coral reef in our houses. And with more of us propogating and culturing our own corals the better, hopefully it will become.
     
  10. Kanga

    Kanga Thread Starter Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Interesting Tridan
     
  11. KevinW

    KevinW

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    Some thoughts on this issue:
    1) You have to remember that you are dealing with systems and not individual species. Whilst one or more species may contribute significantly to the system, it is the interactions and contributions of most, if not all, species that are present (as well as other environmental factors) that ensure that the system continues to function (ie exist).
    2) Zoos have existed for many years (centuries?) with very similar justifications (providing a gene pool should some disaster befall the "natural" population of that species). The problem that I have with this argument is that, if some disaster wipes out an ENTIRE wild population of some species, the scale of the disaster is likely to such that the chances of that particular ecosystem being reinstated /reconstructed /or recovering naturally to the point where it would be feasible to utilise captive populations for restocking the system is pretty small. What is far more likely is that some portion of the ecosystem will be catastrophically affected and that a process of (maybe managed) recovery will take place with the recolonisation coming from wild populations is adjacent areas.
    3) Ascertaining the extent to which any ecosystem can be sustainably (a word that needs a whole lot of debate about exactly what this means as well) exploited, is pretty much a hit and miss affair. All ecosystems are under various degrees of stress, much of which can be attributed to human activities. Whilst it may be argued that a certain level of stress is good for an ecosystem, or that there is no such thing as a stress free ecosystem, the fact remains that significant numbers of animals are being collected for trade in our hobby and that an even greater number of animals (organisms) are being (knowingly or not) also collected/removed from the oceans at the same time (eg "hitchhikers on LR). It IMO it would be very difficult to prove that this harvesting is sustainable. Perhaps the most obvious indicator (and I am not saying that these are directly related) is the worldwide concern about the status of coral reef ecosystems.
    4) There is also a (purist?) point of view that it is not always a great idea to take an animal from one gene pool (area) and introduce it into another as this can result in a decrease in overall (genetic) biodiversity.
     
  12. sandersc

    sandersc

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    I do agree with all the noble ideas and motivations that have been expressed by everyone here and if all marine hobbyists feel the same way, we will definitely have a positive impact on our enviroment, BUT wherever money comes into the equation, morals , values and believes are very easily set aside or forgotten.So where do we as the "purists" come into play now.

    What Wee-Man said here should become our code as to how we manage our hobby. Rather be without something than support somebody, that does not care about they ways and means that are used to collect specimens.
     
  13. Kanga

    Kanga Thread Starter Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    You are so right here, the key clearly is having a system in place so that we the aquarists know the source

    The Marine Aquarium Council Based in Hawaii is really pushing this hard
     
  14. sandersc

    sandersc

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    killkanga

    Go for them Kanga, Go for them!
     
  15. Carl

    Carl

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    Reefing in Perspective.

    The biggest plus in marine reefkeeping is most probably the awareness created with regards to the conservation of Reefs and Corals, thereafter the scientific knowledge and knowhow.

    Kanga the really old, very boring story of catching fish with cyanide is long past and the blasting of fish and corals are for humans to eat fish and use the corals in building structures. The majority of the Indo Pacific and South East Asia regard their population of decorative fish and corals as a major asset as rightly pointed out in your post #5.

    However I would love to invite you and Calvin up to the Mozambique Archipelago to come and favour a fish stew from Goldies (Antheas), Regal Tangs, various Butterflies, Triggers and maybe even the odd Gem Tang. More decorative fish are eaten or consumed by the local population in 1 week in that area than what we import into SA in an entire year.

    The majority of the Lime used to build the luxurious hotels, roads and house in Mauritius are from coral.

    As far as coral is concerned, certain species of parrot fish feed on coral polyps and these fish will consume 3 times their body weight in coral per day.

    Guys in my opinion were are a bunch of hypocrites but:
    I am on top of the food chain, if i want to harvest the sea to eat, to build protection for myself, or put them in a cage (tank) for my pure enjoyment , then so be it.

    Carl
     
  16. Kanga

    Kanga Thread Starter Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    More than 150,000 kg of cyanide is believed to be used in the Philippines annually by the aquarium trade and more than a million kg have been used since the 1960’s[2]
    [3]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanide_fishing

    Carl you right we are hippocrates, but I cant imagine its right to say "my hobbie has less impact that XYZ, therefore its ok"

    As far as the fishstew goes, I think you will always find this, in the amazon the Discus is an eating fish.

    I suppose what I am asking is how do we the people withe the little cages in our houses minimise our impact and turn it into something that benefits our hobbie?

    Yes you are right, I do think awareness is the greatest benefit derived from the hobbie, but I dont think we should leave it at that, there should be more to offer as a community. Or I am I just barking mad? (maybe you shouldnt answer that:p)
     
  17. Kanga

    Kanga Thread Starter Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    :lol: Oh I will:1::slayer::slayer::slayer:
     
  18. calvin

    calvin

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    iv said what i wanto say ! and im not even going to try argue with you carl! you clearly have your opinion on this matter and are sticking to it !
    i just hope everyone else in this hobbywill have a healthier attitude toward the enviroment than yourself
     
  19. Carl

    Carl

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    Kanga

    Well aware of the previous use but please look at the dates of these publications 1960’s 1996, 1997. I have done numourous searches on this subject and only came up with very outdated articles.

    Kanga, this is one of the pet subjects that “concerned” people bring up but cannot prove and keep harping on this very old false fiddle. The majority of fish currently shipped are passing via a couple of collection stations and major exporters in Asia.

    These guys are aware and are testing for cyanide before the will accept any shipment and thus in the same time, the Philippines which was using this method realize that they will not be able to export or sell their fish.

    We are currently negotiating with MAC for some representation at Imacsa 2008.

    Calvin

    My attitude to the environment is that of a realist and not that of a bunny hugger. If I am hungry I will eat the bunny, if I am cold I will use it fur for a coat but, I will aslo assure that there is a bunny for tomorrow and the next winter.

    So WTF you mean with a "healthier attitude" I do not understand.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 3 Dec 2007
  20. Kanga

    Kanga Thread Starter Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    The majority yes, and the test isnt such a simple matter, the fish gets "soaked in sulphuric acid" before it is tested . so its safe to say you nor I have ever had a fish that was tested.

    I would so love you to be right, but the fact that the amount of fish caught this way has reduced significantly still doesnt eliminate the problem.

    My question also wasnt Purely based on Cyanide and Blast fishing.

    We are not Hungry nor cold we keep them for ornamental reasons.

    I am not saying that we are in the wrong nor am I a bleeding heart environmentalist about to join a Greenpeace protest, I am just saying are we doing enough, if not what more can we do.

    Add to that the money, effort and time Calvin is putting into propagation, then he is one of the few people doing something for the enviroment.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 3 Dec 2007
  21. sandersc

    sandersc

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    Guys, we may be hippocrates, but the moments we accept it as a fact and stop doing something about it (not being a hippcrate) we've lost big time. OK lets accept the fact that we may be hippocrates, BUT let us start doing something to change that.

    The mere fact that I try and be responsible in the hobby, will make a difference, even if it is only to a couple of fish or coral or if I can change one persons view to being more responsible, the world has changed for the better.

    PS where do I find the spell checker on the forum?
     
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