TREVOR 06/09/03 11:00|
There's a new movie in theaters that is making huge waves in the marine aquarium business: "Finding Nemo."
This movie is about a talking clownfish, whose son is taken to an aquarium. Movies with cute talking animals always inspire people to buy the animals featured in the film. When "101 Dalmatians "came out, everyone wanted a Dalmatian puppy.When "Babe" came out, piglets were the must-have item. Even those Taco Bell commercials featuring the talking Chihuahua created a shortage of Chihuahua dogs in pet stores.
It will be interesting to see how this sudden hunger for clownfish pets plays out. I'd like to think that this will introduce many new people to the aquarium hobby, but realistically, this hunger for clownfish could end in disaster. Clownfish are citizens of the ocean, which is a foreign environment that can be difficult to maintain.
Even with the Bullet-proof reef system, which is one of the the cheapest and simplest ways of keeping a reef aquarium, there is time, effort and money required. Someone who only want s a movie souvenir and doesn't care to keep salinity, nitrates and nitrates at the right level and provide healthy food for their fish will not get good results.
A reef aquarium can be a great joy, and very educational for children, but it does require care. I am worried that people will buy clownfish without being aware of the care requirements, and without the commitment necessary for a marine aquarium.
This sudden demand for clownfish is a cause for concern. While clownfish are relatively easy to breed in captivity (compared to other marine fishes), there is only a limited amount of captive raised clownfish, and they take time and money to rear. The demand for clownfish may force suppliers to capture clownfish from the wild ocean.
It is far too easy to damage natural populations of ocean fish and habitat. When 6,000 fish are being demanded per day, the temptation for money motivate s people to use irresponsible fishing practices. These collecting techniques include dumping cyanide in the water to stun the fish, which kills many reef organisms and means that the populations of clownfish that go into stores are unhealthy to begin with.
GARF has always fought against these destructive practices. All of our merchandise is captive propagated, and all of our practices are easy to replicate. Captive-propagated material does not deplete the reefs, which are already burgeoned by commercial fishing, dredging and pollution. Additionally, captive-propagated animals do much better in captivity than wild caught because they are already adapted to the aquarium life.
This is not to suggest that having a marine aquarium should be reserved only for geniuses, or millionaires or people who only have good kharma. GARF has also worked to make ZERO IMPACT aquariums available to everyone, by making aquarium materials cheap and available.
Let's work together to make "Finding Nemo" an opportunity İfor the ocean and aquarium hobby, and not a killing blow for the wild ocean. Buy captive propagated animals and rock, and when buying fish, make sure that they are from a reputable source. This summer, GARF will be working on efficient ways to breed clownfish. We will document the process from start to finish and post it on the website. So stay tuned!
Hello People at Pixar,
My name is Steve Robinson.
I was on MS NBC's Countdown with Kieth Oberman last nite. The number one story was "Finding Nemo" and I was asked to provide the viewpoint of the tropical fish industry since I am the president of the American Marinelife Dealers Association.[AMDA]
He first asked about wether or not the trade will receive a 'black eye' from this movie. No I told him. Just the opposite. The movie has stoked the fires of demand and has increased greatly the numbers of tropical fishes being collected out on the coral reefs of The Philippines and Indonesia. In as much as most blue tangs are captured with the poison sodium cyanide, this accelerated demand has increased the damage to those reefs.
Long before this movie came out, there has existed a struggle for the conscience of the industry over the issue of 'cyanide collecting' of tropicals, especially for [but not limited to] Dory's i.e. blue tangs. There were training programs to teach collectors in the Philippines and Indonesia that have failed for lack of capital and/or expertise to do them right. Staffed with non aquarium professionals in charge, these "environmental groups failed" badly.
My group, the AMDA, would like to enlist the industry to save itself before negative press and government sanctions close down the industry for its crimes...and failures to correct them.
The industry employs many thousands of poor fisherman who would otherwise just kill larger fish to make a living. Tropical fish recover and grow out faster than most anything else of value in the sea...so long as coral habitat is not destroyed with cyanide. Our current training proposal is welcome in the Philippines and is currently seeking funding before some of the usual environmental granting agencies. The process takes a considerable amount of time and we hope for the first one to come thru around November!
The CIA believe it or not has funding right now for us if our training group will agree to train rebels in the heart of Dory and Muslim territory, Mindinao Philippines. Recent rebel activity has made this honor a dubious one.
I represent a crack team of Filipino commercial collecting professional trainers and we are hoping to begin converting cyanide fisherman into net collecting fisherman as soon as possible.
And so I wonder if you might see merit in sponsoring the 'good news' reform of our industry to go with the movie just released. The movie that ramps up demand for fish that are not collected in a sustainable fashion...but could be.
I would hope that it would be a win-win situation for us all as no one makes a profit on a dead coral reef.
I would love to talk to you more if you see merit in what I propose. This could be easy as my own tropical fish consultancy firm is located in San Carlos, across the bay.
Very Sincerely, Steve Robinson
American Marinelife Dealers Assn.