[Coral-List] sustainable aquarium trade focussed in source countries
lesk at bu.edu
Sat Dec 8 12:58:05 EST 2007
Happy holidays everybody.
I am trying to construct the most realistic scenario possible for
sustainable aquarium export businesses that bring income directly to
people of modest means in the source country. I"m aware of some
limited experiments in French Polynesia, the Philippines, Taiwan,
Australia, and Fiji. These reflect a mix of larval capture/rear-out
and local captive propagation, including live rock and invertebrate
farming. Three things I'm still looking for. One is a business
plan or analysis that explains the conditions under which this kind
of enterprise is itself sustainable (as a business). The second is a
description of the product line and how it was successfully juggled
so as to remain responsive to the market and keep revenue flowing.
The third is a measure of the material and other benefits to the
local community resulting from this business.
Of course, there is a fourth conundrum here, the matter of how to
strike a balance between benefits to inhabitants of coral reef
nations, versus the wonderful efforts of aquarists and entrpreneurs
in developed nations that has led to the ex situ production of many
fishes and invertebrates. Without this, the aquarium hobby is hard
to grow. If it takes over, the result is one more example of local
people being disenfranchised from the benefits that flow from their
own local natural resource base.
I am not going into the business myself and have no wish to steal
anybody's trade secrets. The outstanding question is simply this:
what would the marine aquarium trade look like, in detail, if it were
truly serving the interests of people living local to the wild
sources of the ornamental species. The ultimate goal is to create a
win-win for people and coral reefs. The aquarium trade would
automatically be a third winner, a success that would create positive
feedback to coral reef conservation.
If we manage to figure this all out, there is some chance for at
least a little investment by conservation funders.
Thanks to all those who have already been of assistance in this
Professor of Biology
Boston University Marine Program
Marine Management Area Science
“I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”
George W. Bush
Saginaw, Michigan; September 29, 2000
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