Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Dark Sides of the Aquarium Trade

07.11.2012
The fishing of ornamental organisms for the aquarium trade in Indonesia is based on a patron-client system with archaic traits. Scientists from the ZMT have taken a closer look at it.

The collection of marine organisms for the aquarium trade has increased significantly in recent years. Worldwide up to 46 million animals are traded each year at a value between 200 and 330 million U.S. dollars.


Indonesian fisher catching a clownfish, Spermonde Archipelago
Photo: Leyla Knittweis, ZMT


Assorting the catches, Spermonde Archipelago
Photo: Leyla Knittweis, ZMT

Indonesia is one of the most important countries of origin for aquarium animals from coral reefs. In a recently published study researchers of the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) in Bremen have investigated why the governmental regulation of the collection of ornamental corals is not effective in the island country.

Only 1-2% of the traded reef corals are captive bred in aquariums; the lion’s share is still collected from the wild. Stony corals, which are mainly exported to the U.S., Europe and Japan, account for a quarter of the world’s traded aquarium organisms. About 80% of these come from Indonesia, where many fishermen earn their livelihood by collecting coral. Also ornamental organisms like clownfish and damselfish are a popular catch for the fishermen.

To suggest possible protection interventions, the reef ecologist and social scientist Sebastian Ferse and his colleagues from the ZMT studied the living conditions of the fishermen in the Spermonde Archipelago and how they are involved in the trade with ornamental organisms. The archipelago off Southwest Sulawesi is a densely populated island region and has a particularly brisk trade with aquarium animals. The researchers were especially interested in the social conditions and interdependencies on which the work of the fishermen is based. On several expeditions they interviewed inhabitants of the islands, as well as merchants and government officials in Makassar, the nearby capital of South Sulawesi and monitored the collection of the ornamental organisms.

As the researchers found, the fishermen of the archipelago are part of an archaic hierarchical system. “The fishermen work for middlemen, so-called patrons,” Ferse said. “They deliver their catch to them and are paid a fee, which is usually below the market price. What, how much and the means used to make the catch is ultimately an issue that is decided by the client.” If the fisherman agrees to deliver his catch to “his” patron on a regular basis, this patron will offer him a kind of social security that he would not receive from the government. The patron grants small loans, assistance in case of illness or for material losses due to natural disasters.

The middlemen are well connected with the national and international trade and pass on the demand directly to the fishermen. Most of the patrons have specialised in specific animal species, so that a market has been created for a wide variety of reef organisms. Many reef animals off Sulawesi have therefore become very rare. Furthermore, the use of destructive fishing methods such as poison and dynamite fishing is still quite prevalent in Spermonde. The Indonesian government has set fishing quotas to protect the reefs and issues fishing licenses, which are passed on to the fishermen via the patrons. “However, little attention is paid to government regulations,” Ferse said. “The patrons also allow unlicensed fishermen to work for them.” Thus, many catches do not appear in the official catch statistics.

According to Sebastian Ferse and his colleagues, patrons are an important contributing causal factor to the ecological problems, but they could also be an approach to a solution. These – until now often overlooked – links between fishermen and the market exercise a decisive influence on the behaviour of the fishermen and should be included in management activities to help achieve a sustainable use of marine resources.

More information:

Dr. Sebastian Ferse
Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology, Bremen, Germany
Tel: 0421 / 23800 – 28
Email: sebastian.ferse@zmt-bremen.de

Dr. Susanne Eickhoff | idw
Further information:
http://www.zmt-bremen.de

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

nachricht Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>