Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Marine Aquarium Fish Trade Study Reveals Fewer Fish, More Species Imported than Previously Estimated

23.05.2012
First study of its kind finds aquarium tropical fish imports to the U.S. often misreported

As the popularity of marine aquariums rises, so does the demand for wildlife inhabiting them. Most aquarium fish are harvested from their natural habitats – primarily coral reefs – and imported into the United States by the millions annually.

After a detailed review of import records for marine tropical fish entering the United States over a year's span, scientists found 1,802 species imported, or 22 percent greater biodiversity than previously estimated. More than 11 million fish were imported from 40 countries, which was less than previously reported as many freshwater fish and marine invertebrates were being mistakenly counted as marine fish. Additionally, they discovered that more than half of government importation forms during that time had numerical or other reporting discrepancies – resulting in a 27 percent overestimation of trade volumes.

"There is a delicate balance between the global demand for aquarium fish, and its environmental and economic impacts," said lead author Andrew Rhyne, assistant professor of marine biology at Roger Williams University and research scientist at the New England Aquarium. "Without mechanisms in place designed specifically to monitor the aquarium fish trade, we will never have a keen understanding of how it impacts our oceans and the global economy."

"Coral reefs globally are already under tremendous stress from climate change, habitat destruction and pollution," noted co-author Michael Tlusty, director of research at the New England Aquarium. "Poor harvest practices of tropical fish for the home aquarium trade can add to that decline, yet when done right, it can help counter those effects provided the economic benefits of long term sustainability are met locally. That small scale fisheries can provide a framework on which to develop better overall management schemes to protect the reefs."

The unprecedented study published today in the Public Library of Science (PLoS), was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration's (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program, and conducted by scientists from Roger Williams University, New England Aquarium, U.S. Geological Survey, Boston University, Conservation International, NOAA and the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.

At present, multiple sources of trade data exist, but not all data systems were intended to monitor the marine wildlife trade. Researchers looked at aquarium trade imports by comparing the available commercial invoices to government forms.

The review of shipment invoices revealed the number of fish reported on shipping declarations matched the invoices only 52 percent of the time. Scientists found repeated instances of declarations marked as marine ornamental fish also containing other species, such as freshwater fish, corals and other non-marine wildlife.

The aquarium fish trade is an economic boon for its largest exporters, notably the Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. However, as the demand for these exports rise, natural habitats and species are impacted. Harvesting these wild species can lead to loss of biodiversity, overfishing, and the use of cyanide and environmentally destructive fishing practices. Furthermore, import countries are at risk for the introduction of non-native species and diseases.

"Despite all of the negatives, coral reef conservation is an often overlooked benefit of the marine aquarium trade," said co-author Les Kaufman, professor of biology at Boston University and senior marine scientist at Conservation International. "Hobbyists who enjoy these fish and the seaside villagers who collect them have a common interest – to maintain the coral reefs. Without coral reef stewardship, the marine aquarium trade would eventually cease to exist."

About the New England Aquarium
The New England Aquarium is one of the most prominent and popular aquariums in North America and is a recognized international leader in ocean conservation, education and research. The Aquarium is among the region's most-visited tourist attractions and is cultivating widespread public awareness about the benefits and responsibility in improving the health of the oceans and the earth.
About Roger Williams University
Roger Williams University located in Bristol, R.I., is a leading independent, coeducational university with programs in the liberal arts and the professions, where students become community- and globally-minded citizens. With 42 academic majors, an array of co-curricular activities and study abroad opportunities on six continents, RWU is an open community dedicated to the success of students, commitment to a set of core values and providing a world-class education above all else. In the last decade, the University has achieved unprecedented successes including recognition as one of the best colleges in the nation by Forbes, a College of Distinction by Student Horizons, Inc., and as both a best college in the Northeast and one of the nation's "greenest" universities by The Princeton Review.

CONTACT: Ruth Bazinet, Manager, Media Relations, Roger Williams University, rbazinet@rwu.edu, +1-401-254-3805; Tony LaCasse, Media Relations Director, New England Aquarium, tlacasse@neaq.org, +1-617-877-6871

Ruth Bazinet | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.rwu.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht 100 % Organic Farming in Bhutan – a Realistic Target?
15.06.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht What the size distribution of organisms tells us about the energetic efficiency of a lake
05.06.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

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: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A sprinkle of platinum nanoparticles onto graphene makes brain probes more sensitive

15.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

100 % Organic Farming in Bhutan – a Realistic Target?

15.06.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Perovskite-silicon solar cell research collaboration hits 25.2% efficiency

15.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>