The Facts:

  • High Mortality Rates:  For every one fish that makes it alive into a marine aquarium, nine have died - a mortality rate of 90%. 
  • This hobby is devastating marine habitats worldwide. 
  • Tidal zones are nurseries and small reef fish play an important role in maintaining healthy tidal zones. If the “young fish” are continuously removed, the ecosystems stop working.
  • Marine aquarium collectors are known to use the “squirting of chemicals” into rock pools on beaches where the fish “float to the surface”, stunned.  They are then scooped up and transported to large cooler boxes and are forced into the marine aquarium trade.
  • Dr Cullum Brown, the world’s leading expert on fish behavior, confirms that “fish experience pain just like any other animal.  They have memories, they have been known to use tools, have complex breeding systems and very advanced cognitive behavior.” Taking fish out of their natural habitat for a fish tank should be considered just as cruel as taking any other animal out of their natural habitat and caging them.
  • The cruel manner in which marine animals are collected, impacts negatively on the marine ecosystem.  For example, Featherduster worms bore into coral heads and then stick out their dusters to filter-feed. Aquarium hunters “collect” featherdusters by smashing coral. Other methods include pushing a long metal bar into gullies and overhangs to scare anything and everything out into the open for harvesting.
  • In countries like the Philippines, over 90% of reefs have “absent” species. These are species that are no longer seen due to over collecting for the aquarium trade. In Hawaii, a range of species have seen plummeting populations (some as high as 70%) due to marine aquarium collecting. The same thing is happening in South Africa, we just do not have the baseline data to let us know how bad the problem is. Simply put, a species could go extinct and we wouldn't even know it.
  • 99% of marine aquarium fish come from the wild. Don't be caught out by claims of “we are helping conservation with captive breeding programs” because a very small number of fish will ever breed in captivity.
  • Very few marine aquarists can replicate the “ocean” successfully, which is one of the reasons why 90% of captive animals die within a month. For an ornament, this is a frivolous and wasteful use of wildlife.
  • The trade in fish for marine aquariums is cruel and devastating to our coastlines. The full scale of the devastating implications of this trade is still relatively unknown, as it is unlikely anyone would report accurately what they take from the ocean.  

How you can help:

  • Learn about animals and their natural behavior by watching documentaries.
  • Do not by a ticket and support large public marine aquariums.
  • Do not set up a marine aquarium in your home.  This supports the trade in marine fish and other animals.
  • Be an advocate for the animals and spread the word that marine aquariums are devastating our coastlines and are completely unnecessary.

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