divers and fish

Prasanna Weerakkody firefish at sltnet.lk
Wed Oct 31 22:10:13 EST 2001

I am not so sure if the aquarium enthusiasts are anymore enlightened lot
than the average diver as ursula defined. (may be there is one or two) Down
here in Sri Lanka one of my prime activities is re-settling hundreds of
pieces of coral broken by fish collectors (to extract the fish from their
hiding places)supplying the aquarium industry.  Post to the 1998 bleaching
event the reefs down here have suffered tremendously with less than 50% of
the reefs remaining and struggling to survive. there is significant loss in
fish abundance and diversity. But the aquarium fish industry has not been so
"understanding or aware" and continue pumping reef fauna out at the same
rate. they still comb and squeeze the reefs for fish(and inverts) down to
the last one left. If there is even a slight reduction to the numbers
exported it is more due to fish collectors quitting the job as it is no
longer viable; than because of the sensitive Reef keeper hobbyists
voluntarily putting a brake in their demand of live exotics to give a chance
for the reefs to recover.

I don't think the reef keepers have a clue what is going on down here, or
care how much they are contributing to the destruction of the reefs to build
"pretty little artificial reefs' that they can keep at home.  May be the
recreational divers who visit the reefs could check out the reefs and make
the aquarists aware.

The aquarists should know that every colourful fish that livens their living
room makes the reefs less and less colourful as the selective predation by
the trade is leaving the reefs full of only the 'bland' fishes. think of
what such high intensity selective extraction does to the reef ecology. 

My apologies if I sound a little hard; but it is hard to sympathize with
aquarists when you are struggling with the long distance effects of their
hobbies on a daily basis. 


At 07:44 AM 31-10-01 -1000, you wrote:
>At 10:32 AM 10/31/2001 +0000, you wrote:
>>Without recreational divers the academic community has NO hope of 
>>spreading the word about the plight of the world's reefs.
>I believe the marine reef keeping hobby has a very large % of "reef aware" 
>individuals, perhaps more so than the diving community .. since these 
>individuals have a great deal of experience with what is necessary for 
>healthy corals to survive and grow and an appreciation of their delicacy. 
>This is also a very useful group when it comes to spreading awareness of 
>corals reefs and their inhabitants to the general public. I know several 
>hobbyists who regularly have groups of elementary students visit their 
>homes to view their reef aquaria and learn about coral reefs in general.
>J. Charles Delbeek
>Aquarium Biologist
>Waikiki Aquarium
>2777 Kalakaua Ave.
>Honolulu, HI, USA 96815
>808-923-1771 FAX
>For directions on subscribing and unsubscribing to coral-list or the
>digests, please visit www.coral.noaa.gov, click on Popular on the
>menu bar, then click on Coral-List Listserver.

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