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Many Cardinal Tetra are harvested every year for the aquatic trade

The Aquaria Trade and its Role within Conservation

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http://synergydance.co.uk/news/synergy-dance-classes-feature-in-the-educational-section-of-the-woking-news-mail buy generic Lisinopril canada The aquarium trade is a lucrative business. It encompasses the harvesting and distribution of tropical and marine ornamental species, including fish, invertebrates and live rock, from 45 countries to keep up with consumer demands. In 2012, a study by New England Aquarium, Roger Williams University and the NOAA, amongst others, showed that millions of specimens from 1,802 species entered the US trade alone, destined for an aquarium environment. Whilst up to date global figures are unknown, pet trade surveys estimate the aquarium industries to be worth in excess of $1 billion annually, with rarer marine species such as the Dr Seuss soapfish (Belonoperca pylei) and the bladefin basslet (Jeboehlkia gladifer) regularly commanding prices of over $5,000 per specimen.

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Seroquel online In recent weeks though, the aquarium trade has once again come under scrutiny and the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) have been forced to release the #handsoffmyhobby campaign in response to the Eurogroup for Animals. The lobbyist group have pledged to “ban the import of wild caught animals and restrict the number of exotic species” in line with EU policies concerning human and animal health and the protection of the environment. This wild caught ban, whilst not implicating aquatic species by name, would include non-native freshwater, tropical and marine fish and invertebrate species and would have a detrimental effect on the hobby and aquarist industry as a whole.

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So what are the motives behind this proposed ban?

http://pro8.nu/?zxcvb=binaire-opties-belgie&850=47 binaire opties belgie There is no denying that animal welfare is imperative and that the exotic pet market has its flaws, with the aquaria trade no exception. The main issues with the aquarium trade revolve around the volume of species harvested to meet the ever increasing demand, the collection and holding methods used and the occasional release of these non-native animals into the wild. Catching fish for the aquarium trade is extremely profitable and aquarium specimens carry a much greater economic value than food fish. The trade is a major source of income in poorer, tropical areas and thoughts of sustaining this commodity have been replaced in part by greed, with the monetary benefits of today outweighing the potential conservation short-comings of tomorrow.
The overharvesting of certain species has been a well-documented problem. Popular tropical aquarium fish such as the red-tailed black shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor), zebra pleco (Hypancistrus zebra) and denison barb (Barbus denisonii) have all seen their wild populations dwindle as a result of unsustainable levels of collection. The marine Bangaii cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) has seen its numbers diminish to 10% of their original stocks courtesy of exportation for the aquaria trade. As a result, the National Marine Fisheries Service is pushing for the Bangaii cardinalfish to be listed under the Endangered Species Act, potentially inhibiting the trade of wild caught specimens.
Destructive capture methods are another major issue, with 99.9% of marine species destined for home aquariums harvested directly from tropical coral reefs. Cyanide fishing involves the use of the poison to stun or anaesthetise marine fish allowing for ease of capture. Whilst mobile species can flee, localised sessile corals and invertebrates are killed, as cyanide blocks oxygen transport to the cells thus starving the animals of oxygen. A large proportion of the harvested fish also eventually succumb to an accidental overdose, with studies showing mortality rates reaching 75% in the 48 hours post capture.
The influx of invasive lionfish species terrorising the reefs of North America and the Caribbean is also thought to be attributed to the release of captive aquarium specimens into the wild. With no natural predators, an abundant food supply and conditions similar to their original habitat range in South-East Asia; they have flourished to the detriment of local species. However, this specific case is down to the reckless attitudes of a few, rather than a flaw with the hobby as a whole.
These flaws will alarm aquarists and hobbyists at every level. In conjunction with other anthropogenic factors such as habitat destruction and pollution, this can leave particular animals at risk of joining species such as the butterfish splitfin (Ameca splendens) as being extinct in the wild.

But it’s not all doom and gloom

opcje binarne auto Despite these inherent problems, a blanket ban on the trade in exotics is not the answer. There are a number of positives surrounding the aquarium trade and with careful management; a continued and sustainable future for the trade is a possibility. The aquarium trade provides a means to educate and raise awareness of the plight of aquatic species and their habitats whilst providing a vital economic boost to the communities directly involved. The trade, in certain cases also preserves and stabilises critically endangered populations.
The idea that resources are not finite and need to be sustained is recognised worldwide and as trends move towards a greener way of thinking, conservation awareness and sustainability are becoming increasingly important within the trade. With the increased availability of animals and rapid advancements within aquaria technology, owning a fish tank has never been easier or more popular. It is this demand for aquatic species that is turning the trade towards a more managed and sustainable route.
Efforts to ensure that sustainable collection methods are common practice are being implemented across reef-side collection sites. Cyanide detection laboratories, controlled by the International Marinelife Alliance (IMA), are being used to detect levels of cyanide ions in fish tissue or organs and allow for the prosecution of violators. While cyanide fishing and its detrimental effects on the surrounding environment have not been eliminated, they have been reduced as a result of these efforts. Tools such as catch quotas and no-fishing zones are also being utilised in some of the worst affected areas. These limit the number of individuals from each species that may be harvested from designated areas, lessening the impacts and allowing for populations to be maintained. They do however, require strict policing and management and must be adhered to in order for them to be a success.
Perhaps even more important is the education and engagement of local fisherman who rely solely on the trade for income, so that they understand and support these conservation efforts. Encouraging them to look at reefs as a resource that needs to be cared for and managed, rather than just a means of making a quick dollar, helps develop a sense of stewardship. A mother coral colony that is protected against destructive cyanide fishing practices will ensure an on-going financial gain providing an incentive for preservation. Recent papers published by scientists affiliated with the New England Aquarium argued that the survival of coral reefs are dependent on ‘reef-side communities’ and that the marine trade could be key in defending the reefs and their resources. Hobbyists want the best for the animals under their care and understand that without coral reef stewardship, the marine aquaria trade would eventually cease to exist.

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chiusura anticipata opzioni binarie Many Cardinal Tetra are harvested every year for the aquatic trade

skrill interactiveoption com This sense of stewardship through engagement is equally applicable to the freshwater environment too. As well as protecting certain species, some conservation efforts associated with the trade also focus on preserving habitats. The ornamental fish-trading centre for the upper Río Negro basin is situated in Barcelos, Brazil and offers a sustainable source of income for the local inhabitants. The cardinal tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) is central to this, comprising a large percentage of the fish species harvested. Project Piaba, meaning ornamental fish in Portuguese, was setup to promote the sustainable harvest of the aquatic resources in the area and thus preventing destructive practices such as mining, timber harvesting, or agriculture. By encouraging the local population to develop an interest in the fish they catch, they attain an interest in maintaining the environment within which the fish dwell. Project Piaba helps train the fishermen, provide equipment and also lend a ‘voice’ in helping lobby for a fair price in return for their catch. In doing so, this helps preserve the natural rainforest environment and generates potentially long-term income for the locals. With developments such as the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam threatening biodiversity and the endemic species within the area, projects like this take on an even greater importance.
The captive breeding of fish and invertebrates within an aquaculture environment is another important step towards species conservation and a positive activity developed by the aquarium trade. UN studies show that presently, 90%+ of tropical species available within the aquarium trade are now captive bred within aquaculture farms, reducing the strain on wild populations and their habitats. The fact that species such as the red-tailed black shark and the white cloud mountain minnow are widely available throughout the hobby is a testament to this. Captive bred species raised in a controlled and monitored environment are much more adaptable and have less chance of harbouring parasites, or diseases than specimens shipped halfway across the world, with suppliers and retailers now recognising this.
Mariculture is an improving trade, although the vast majority of marine species are still wild caught. Many marine species have a dispersing larval stage, whereby vast numbers of larvae are released into the water column and spend time in the pelagic environment before metamorphosing into their adult forms. These larvae tend to be smaller, less robust and rely on food and environmental conditions that are too hard to source or replicate as of yet. As larval rearing techniques improve, it will be possible to breed a wider variety of species. This isn’t to say certain species aren’t currently available, with various angelfish, cardinalfish, damselfish, dottyback and goby having been bred successfully for the trade.
As well as providing animals to aquatic stores for general sale to the public, trade suppliers also supply to larger public aquaria, themselves key tools in engaging and educating the public and bringing conservation to the forefront of people’s attention. It stands to reason that a person is more likely to empathise with the plight of the critically endangered golden skiffia (Skiffia francesae) for example, if they can see a specimen in the flesh. Breeding programs undertaken under the watchful eye of industry experts have brought numerous species back from the brink of extinction or stabilised others on the downward spiral. Public aquaria rely on collaboration and the pooling of resources with regard to some of these specific breeding programs involving endangered species. Numerous Mexican species of livebearers such as the Potosi pupfish (Cyprinodon alvarezi) and the La Palma pupfish (Cyprinodon longidorsalis) for example, are now only maintained in zoos and aquariums as their natural habitat has dried up. It’s not just public aquariums that breed threatened species. Online forums, hobbyists and trade societies collaborate together to maintain a breeding presence of species in captivity. The American Livebearers Association (ALA) have a species maintenance program, ensuring a number of club members are keeping and breeding endangered livebearers at any one time.
It is clear that there are two sides to every story. While anthropogenic factors might be at the heart of the problem, the aquarium trade is assisting in working towards a solution and, the trade itself plays a positive role in terms of conservation, education and the local economy. In terms of sustainability though, it is far from the finished article and more a work in progress, with a long way to go. Everyone needs to be on board and working towards the same goal from the fisherman on the rivers and reefs, to the suppliers and wholesalers, through to the aquarists and hobbyists. By establishing at source, a sense of ownership, sustainable resource management and effective policing, this degree of stewardship can pass through to the consumers themselves.
There is a fine balance between the demand for aquaria species and the resultant environmental and economic effects and the trade must be managed carefully and responsibly. A kneejerk reaction however, such as placing a blanket ban on exotic species, is not the answer. A halt in the trade would not only have detrimental impact on the aquatics industry itself, but also in terms of conservation and the economy of the reef source communities. So as hobbyists, aquarists and fishkeepers, we need to follow the lead of OATA and say http://vaneeuwijkadvocaten.nl/?nl=binaire-opties-makelaar binaire opties makelaar #handsoffmyhobby.

About Chris Sergeant

I currently work in the Conservation Biology field, having previously worked within both public and private aquatics facilities. I hold degrees in Marine Biology and Coastal and Marine Resource Management and have spent numerous hours diving and snorkelling across the world for both work and pleasure. I also keep a variety of tropical and marine species.

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