Marine fauna exploitation .Part V
bd268 at freenet.carleton.ca
Thu Aug 3 11:20:35 EDT 1995
Most of the marine ornamental fish exporters in the area of Manila, and
possibly in the whole Philippines, are having significant difficulty in
keeping their business going. The main reason is the high mortality rate
of their exported fish, and consequently the customer dissatisfaction
This problem is due not only to the fact that some are still cyanide
caught, but also because of the poor handling techniques that fisherfolks
and exporters are practicing, added to the fact that the fish are held for
prolonged periods of time in conditions that are of considerable danger such
* Acute exposure to ammonia
* Low values of pH
* Sudden increase of pH
* High values of nitrates and phosphates
* Drastic temperature changes
* Oxygen depletion
* Prolonged exposure to Copper ( as treatment) and ( possilbly) to other
heavy metals present in marine epoxies, used in the construction of holding
In plastic bags or in a recirculating water system the ammonia which fish
excrete becomes a crucial factor in water quality. The molecular form of
Ammonia, NH3, is highly toxic, while the ionic form, NH4+, is only slightly
toxic. Depending on the pH value of the water, when low, much of the ammonia
may become ionized and prevent major problems of toxicity. There is a serious
problem when the pH increases suddenly due to abrupt water changes. These
concepts have to be analized in the context of osmoregulation.
All these factors are without doubt responsible for irreparable physiological
damage that the fish suffer, and they must be considered as responsible for
unnecessary mortality WHICH IS EVIDENT ONLY LATER. Fish under stress, even at
a fairly early stage of responding, may show decreased resistance to disease.
The filtration systems at exporters facilities are not well designed, they are
not equipped with the proper filter media(e.g activated charcoal) or with
other devices (protein skimmers) to handled the metabolic products of a heavy
biological load. These are the reasons for frequent wipeouts at exporters
holding facilities. The water quality criteria, as a must to anyone who is
concerned with health of fish, are not applied either at the exporters nor
the fisherfolk level.
The workshops about water quality and filtration systems did provide to mem-
bers of the Federation and the Haribon team, with the necessary tools to set
up better and efficient holding facilities to develop their exporting busi-
The Federation of Fish Collectors of the Philippines are working hard to
accomplish their main goals:
-To assure the supply of net-caught fish;
-To teach the application of Water Quality Criteria(water management) to the
collectors and the operators of their holding facilities in Manila; and
-To revise and modify their handling techniques and holding facilities.
By implementing the above "factors" the Federation will gain the credibility
and support of marine fish buyers because it will succeed in lowering mortali-
ty rates (getting customers' satisfaction). This in turn will lead to the
Federation's goals of achieving a self-sufficient livelihood for the fisher-
folk. Of course coral reefs in this area will be a big winners also.
INCENTIVES FOR AQUARIUM FISH COLLECTORS WHO HAVE BEEN CONVERTED TO USING
NETS ARE NEEDED.
Support and cooperation are a must to everyone involved in this trade
(collectors, exporters, importers, reatailers and aquarium hobbyists) and
avoiding conflicts which only slow down the process of change.
The aquarium fish trade is one of many ( and not necessarily the largest)
factors or agents impacting on coral reef ecosystems. Nevertheless, the
aquarium industry is not any less responsible for what it has done and
should not therefore discount its obligation to become environmentally
friendly. In fact, we believe it is in its short-term and long-term interests
to do so. This requirement extends to the collection of wild corals,reef fish
"live rock" and marine invertebrates. Ocean Voice International is clearly
taking an active role in finding practical solutions and in reconciling con-
flicts between the aquarium trade and marine conservation needs.
Thanks for your time.
Your comments will be appreciated.
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