Saving Nemo: Transforming the marine aquarium Industry
In the 1970s, new technologies such as canister filters and artificial sea salt finally allowed hobbyists to keep live reef fish caught from the ocean.
Forty nations supply some 2000 reef fish and 650 invertebrate species to a host of countries – primarily the United States, Japan and Western Europe.
In many places high-value ornamental fish like angelfish and clown triggerfish are conspicuously absent.
"Last night we shipped out thousands of fish in boxes" reveals an operator.
“Reef fish are not expendable décor. They have lives and important ecological roles to play in coral reefs,” explains veteran aquarist Joseph Uy.
However, it must be vigilantly managed to spare reefs additional damage and to minimize post-harvest mortality rates.
Almost all wild-caught marine fish are taken from coral reefs. A 2004 study by the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute found that only 1% of the country’s coral reefs were in excellent condition,” reveals WWF-Philippines Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan.
“The world’s marine habitats continue to be assailed by climate change, pollution and unsustainable fishing. Obviously, poor fish and invertebrate harvest practices do little for conservation.
Certified Philippine tank-raised seahorses are good alternatives and under a new ruling, they might soon be available for local sales and export to international markets.