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fishstick3
10/05/2014, 07:51 AM
Hi all,
I live in south Florida and have been enjoying the reef aquarium hobby for a number of years. Ever since I started, however I've had a internal struggle since I love the hobby but hate the general practices ( how many fish and coral reefs are destroyed so I can enjoy my tank at home). So my questions is, is it better for me to buy fish at my LFS or go out and catch them? The answer seems simple to me but wanted to know what you all thought.

Thanks in advance,
Fishstick

Timfish
10/05/2014, 09:01 AM
As far as doing your own collecting as long as you are doing it legally it could be a very rewarding experience.

I would disagree with the generalization the ornamental fish and coral industry is destroying the reefs. Quoting from this United Nations report, http://www.unep.org/PDF/From_Ocean_T...ium_report.pdf
on pg 9 "The aquarium industry as a whole is of relatively low volume yet very high value, thus potentially providing an incentive to conserve reef habitats and offering a livelihood to coastal communities often living in low-income areas. In 2000, 1 kg of aquarium fish from the Maldives was valued at almost US$500, whereas 1 kg of reef fish harvested for food was worth only US$6. Similarly, the live coral trade is estimated to be worth about US$7,000 per tonne whereas the use of harvested coral for the production of limestone yields only about US$60 per tonne. In Palau, live rock is exported for the aquarium trade at US$2.2 to US$4.4 per kilo whereas it is sold locally as construction material for less than US$0.02 per kilo. Sri Lanka earns about US$5.6 million a year by exporting reef fish to around 52 countries and estimates indicate that 50,000 people are directly involved in the export of marine ornamentals. In the Philippines, about 7,000 collectors depend on the reefs for their livelihood." We are giving people that are living in 3rd world countries an economic incentive to protect their reefs. And there is ample evidence that what is needed to help reef ecosystems is to restore the apex preditors, the sharks, to their historical highs. Probably something that will engender as much resistance as restoring wolves to their historic levels.

I'm sure you've heard the hoopla about collecting Yellow Tangs in Hawai'i. If you read this report: http://files.hawaii.gov/dlnr/reports-to-the-legislature/2010/dar/DAR10-Hawaii-Fisheries-2010.pdf looking at the population counts performed by yearly by biologists from several univerisities and the World Wildlife Fund one of the interesting things to note is as the yellow tang populations go up in the protected areas from collecting the achilles tang populations go down and in the areas open to collection even though achilles tangs are being collected their population goes UP as the yellow tang population goes down. This is suggests a blanket ban on collecting ornamental fish may actually hurt the overall biodiversity, it certainly points out this is a much more complicated situation than is typically presented.

To add an additional twist we have this research: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2291018/ demonstrating a link between sunscreen and coral bleaching. So when you go do your collecting if you are really serious about protecting the environment don't use any sunscreen. :sad2:

fishstick3
10/05/2014, 10:33 AM
I've done a little collecting( always legal) and its great!! I am glad I posted. Timfish that is a very interesting perspective I would not have thought of. Thanks for the feedback.
I have also seen some "reef safe sunscreen" anybody know anything about this?
Thank you again.

phillrodrigo
10/06/2014, 11:50 AM
Just shows though how we over pay for certain items since it's a hobby. Live rock for the hobby is 2.2 to 4.4 per kilo but if it's going for construction it's only worth .02. That's a huge difference. 75 for a live coral but if it's gonna go for limestone it's only worth $60.

jayball
10/06/2014, 12:45 PM
Just shows though how we over pay for certain items since it's a hobby. Live rock for the hobby is 2.2 to 4.4 per kilo but if it's going for construction it's only worth .02. That's a huge difference. 75 for a live coral but if it's gonna go for limestone it's only worth $60.

There is a significant difference in the care required to collect and keep a coral/fish/liverock alive until it gets to the states rather than using a large drag bucket to rip up sections of rock and dump it on a barge.

What they want you to take away from those comparisons is that it is much more valuable for them to maintain a sustainable ornamental trade rather then destroy the habituate for construction material.

Betta132
10/06/2014, 02:03 PM
If you collect your own stuff, you know it's been caught gently and treated well on the way back. You know there was no cyanide involved, and you know it wasn't the only survivor of ten or so that were caught. Plus, you can check to make sure they seem abundant in the area, and it's a lot of fun.

uscgbeachbum
10/12/2014, 12:48 PM
I've done a fair amount of collecting when I lived in FL. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations and keep a printout with you at all times. FWC rarely runs into collectors so they aren't up to speed as to what you can/can't do. Depending on where you live in S FL I'd say the easiest to collect are zoanthids, nassarius snails, and blue leg hermits.

fishstick3
10/13/2014, 10:54 AM
Thanks for all the input. I will be sure to bring a printout of the current laws, that's a great idea.

tigerjace
10/15/2014, 01:01 PM
Collecting your own would be a cool concept...Now thats really taking the hobby to the next level!!! Not to mention the fun in doing so....of course within the laws and regulations. =)

fishstick3
10/15/2014, 03:41 PM
Yeah. I am not so sure on the coral/ invert collecting ( maybe some things like sponges) but from the little bit of fish collecting I've done it is very fun.