COMMERCIAL FISHERS NOTIFIED THAT ALL AQUARIUM COLLECTIONS ARE INVALID

Users who are viewing this thread

Badilac

Well-known member
Country flag
Well I guess replacing my lost Crosshatch Triggers are out of the question. I knew this would happen and honestly that is why I purchased the pair of triggers the first go around. Glad I got most of the other Hawaiian fish I wanted already.
 
We are upset because studies have been done to prove at least in the case of yellow tangs that the collection IS sustainable. Hawaii fish collection is also thought of as one of the most sustainable in the world.

I mean that sucks someone illegal collected 235 fish and obviously more then just that is happening, but that shouldn't stop 100s of thousands of sustainably caught fish from being caught. If someone illegally hunts deer should all deer hunting be banned?

Personally I would never set foot in Hawaii because of the way they handle these bans. The people deciding these cannot be reasoned with.
As a counterpoint to this analogy - we have a heavily managed Striped Bass fishery here in the mid-atlantic - and every couple of years gill nets start showing up in the lower Potomac (this is the spawning ground for these fish - so this is incredibly damaging). When they do - the states choke down on restaurants serving Striped Bass - and the problem goes away for a couple years. I'm sure people are still collecting and selling and serving Striped Bass during these periods - but the significant drop in demand pretty much always means that Fish and Wildlife stops finding gill nets. Sometimes the correct reaction to poaching IS to close down commercial fishing - because commercial poaching is way more damaging than recreational.

Recreational hunters/fisherman are very different than commercial fisherman - people tend to act very differently when not catching fish means losing your house - and the scale at which they operate makes a huge difference.

The claim that the fishery is sustainable is based on having a reasonable understanding of how many fish are being collected, and balancing that against each species fecundity - and if you have significant poaching going on - those numbers aren't reliable. The safe assumption when you can't judge whether something is sustainable is to assume its not, and protect the fishery.
 

TruckerTami

Active member
Location
Central Florida
Country flag
As a counterpoint to this analogy - we have a heavily managed Striped Bass fishery here in the mid-atlantic - and every couple of years gill nets start showing up in the lower Potomac (this is the spawning ground for these fish - so this is incredibly damaging). When they do - the states choke down on restaurants serving Striped Bass - and the problem goes away for a couple years. I'm sure people are still collecting and selling and serving Striped Bass during these periods - but the significant drop in demand pretty much always means that Fish and Wildlife stops finding gill nets. Sometimes the correct reaction to poaching IS to close down commercial fishing - because commercial poaching is way more damaging than recreational.

Recreational hunters/fisherman are very different than commercial fisherman - people tend to act very differently when not catching fish means losing your house - and the scale at which they operate makes a huge difference.

The claim that the fishery is sustainable is based on having a reasonable understanding of how many fish are being collected, and balancing that against each species fecundity - and if you have significant poaching going on - those numbers aren't reliable. The safe assumption when you can't judge whether something is sustainable is to assume its not, and protect the fishery.
I can totally relate to this. My grandfather is considered one of the "founders" of the commercial tuna fishing industry in San Diego. He taught many men to commercial tuna fish (this was with jack poles not nets back then) taught them to navigate the oceans down to south America and through the canal, all on a boat named the Pico (after the island my great grandparents were from) which was actually owned my my great grandmother (his mother in law, which back in those days was unheard of for a woman to own a commercial vessel let alone any type of property). Back then they were starting to do studies of the damage as the "new fisherman" came in hot and heavy using nets instead of poles and racks.

I grew up on the Sportfishing side of the industry when my mother, aunts, and uncles all went to work on these boats instead of long range commercial, and I work don them too. Hell I was nearly born on an old converted PT boat named the Malihini out of H&M landing (where it still is running today) because my mother kept working on it till the day before I was born and my brother was the captain. I have seen so much of a decline and destruction to the Southern California and Baja coastline most of my life.

Albacore tuna had pretty much disappeared from the Pacific, had not been seen or caught in like 20 years. Then one day we were out fishing with 30 or so passengers, we had a decent bite of yellowfin going on and I was standing on the bait tank chumming, when a school of tuna rammed into the boat and the bite went wide open. I saw the first passenger pull a tuna over the rail and all I saw was that long fin, and I stopped and was in shock, then everyone started pulling them up. I ran to the wheelhouse and got on the radio and called a couple rival boats over saying we had a wipe open albacore bite and there was radio silence. 2 boats came out of curiosity and were stunned. We caught our limit within an hour. On the way in we radioed in to the dock and asked to have fish and game meet us upon arrival to certify, and the dock master asked why, and we simply said "our fish count is as follows, 20 yellowfin tuna, 4 skipjacks, and limit albacore" .
Albacore had been overfished, and disappeared, then out of nowhere, they came back. It seems good, but the reality is something isn't right. For them to come back out of nowhere so strong means wherever they went to, something changed and made them come back.

This is why we need things in place to protect our resources. These drastic changes have an effect on the entire planet. Do some of the collectors do damage? Yes. when not regulated and allowed to collect in mass and by any means even if its deadly to the creatures. Does the commercial industry do the same but on a larger scale, absolutely. Greed and the mighty dollar ruins everything it touches eventually. Each and everyone of us can do small things (or larger depending on your drive and ability) because all of those small things will add up to help our ecosystems. I now live in Florida and see the damage done here by big sugar, and others, all for that mighty dollar. We have got to step up and try to rebalance and sustain what we have left.
 
.
Albacore had been overfished, and disappeared, then out of nowhere, they came back. It seems good, but the reality is something isn't right. For them to come back out of nowhere so strong means wherever they went to, something changed and made them come back.

We've seen similar on the east coast with the Striped Bass - they were on the brink of extinction in the early 90s, and good management of the fishery (and pretty much killing the commercial fishery for a decade+ ) has brought them back, but we've had all these crazy swings from not seeing them at all and baitfish numbers rising to the point that we were having low oxygen kills, to seeing bluefish numbers rise to ridiculous points and crash the baitfish populations, followed by the increased numbers of stripers finally getting to decent size and starting to eat all the juvenile bluefish and crashing the bluefish population, followed by more baitfish spikes and crashes - etc. Its been 30+ years since intense management began - and we're clearly in a better place - but allowing this stuff to get out of control has long reaching ramifications. You can't just fix it in a couple of years.
 

Kyl

Active member
Country flag
Hawaii's ornamental fishery is on of the best managed fisheries in the world. Emotion has trumped data, and for the most part, the wider industry twiddled their collective thumbs as this happened.
Industry has had since early 2013 to act, as that's when this all kicked off with the initial court challenge, as I understand things. Unless I'm mistaken, that seems to be quite the head in the sand method of operating. Quite like how much of the greater hobby operates and what drives most of my grievances with the commercial collection aspect of this hobby.
 

ichthyogeek

Well-known member
Country flag
Just dropping this here:


It's interesting that there's not any commercial fisheries popping in and defending the aquarium industry. Granted, I saw massive schools of yellow tangs around 2 years back when I was on Big Island. and also a shark although my mom grabbed my life jacket at that point and forcibly hauled me into the kayak.....

I'm going to go ahead and predict that the Biota yelllow tangs are going to get a price hike, and Biota's really going to have its hands full trying to breed endemic species.
 

ichthyogeek

Well-known member
Country flag
This is not a cut and dry issue. There is genuine logic behind banning the practice, or at least requiring a more thorough environmental review. Evidence from the lawsuit:

Studies “reveal that aquarium collection is removing and having detrimental effects on species that play important ecological roles in reef ecosystems.” Because the most heavily fished species are herbivorous algae eaters, Grabowsky stated that their removal from the reef ecosystem decreases the reef’s ability to withstand habitat degradation and could result in an algal-dominated reef. Grabowsky found that “the most greatly affected species are those that have been heavily exploited.” Based on her research and review of relevant scientific literature, Grabowsky concluded that “aquarium collection is having a detrimental effect on fish populations around Oahu and in other areas of the state,” it “disrupts the ecosystems and makes them less able to respond to other stressors,” and “it removes animals that occupy important and unique ecological niches.”

Eyewitness accounts indicate the same. a declaration stating that she had been diving professionally since 1983 and had done at least 10,000 scuba dives around the Main Hawaiian Islands and in various international locations. Petitioner Rene Umberger, a noted diving expert and conservationist, stated that, based on her observations during her dives through the years, fish species that are highly prized by the aquarium trade have abruptly disappeared from a lot of dive sites. There is a marked difference in the condition between those reefs that are open to collection and those that are not. For example, the three dragon eels (which could retail for over a thousand dollars apiece) and several flame angelfish that had been seeing in the Red Hill area of south Maui for years have now disappeared. In addition, during the years that she had spent scuba diving, Umberger stated that she saw corals physically broken apart to expose the crevices in the reef. open to collection have fewer colorful and aesthetically pleasing fish and invertebrates. Umberger also attested that she had “noticed a dramatic reduction in biodiversity on reefs and in the density of species of fish that are collected by the aquarium trade.”

So, there’s a lot of fallacies in this statement.

One, is to attribute the “missing dragon eels and flame angelfish” to the aquarium collection industry. I believe I read an account from “Snorkel Bob” about seeing a trio of firefish on trips, the trio disappearing, and then another trio of firefish appearing in a pet shop. The fallacy here is assuming that it must be the aquarium industry that caused the disappearing fish. Keep in mind that firefish and angelfish are both considered prey species. Eels can also be predated upon as well. Unless Umberger has personally witnessed aquarium collectors conducting harmful activity (preferably with video recording), I find it highly skeptical.

The Grabowski paper: how much of that was attributed to aquarium fish collection, and how much of it was attributed to local forage fishing? (Haven’t read the actual paper yet) I distinctly recall seeing convict tangs (mom’s notes: the flesh was fluffy like cotton and dry when baked) for sale in grocery stores when on the islands. There were some truly spectacular parrotfish, achilles tangs, nasos, and other herbivorous species fresh in the seafood aisle.

That’s not to say that the aquarium industry doesn’t have some harmful practices. We need better practices from collector to home aquarium. But some of the very broad generalizations are...well, broad. And overgeneralized.
 

35ppt

Comrade Snowflake
Location
San Diego
Country flag
So, there’s a lot of fallacies in this statement.

One, is to attribute the “missing dragon eels and flame angelfish” to the aquarium collection industry. I believe I read an account from “Snorkel Bob” about seeing a trio of firefish on trips, the trio disappearing, and then another trio of firefish appearing in a pet shop. The fallacy here is assuming that it must be the aquarium industry that caused the disappearing fish. Keep in mind that firefish and angelfish are both considered prey species. Eels can also be predated upon as well. Unless Umberger has personally witnessed aquarium collectors conducting harmful activity (preferably with video recording), I find it highly skeptical.

The Grabowski paper: how much of that was attributed to aquarium fish collection, and how much of it was attributed to local forage fishing? (Haven’t read the actual paper yet) I distinctly recall seeing convict tangs (mom’s notes: the flesh was fluffy like cotton and dry when baked) for sale in grocery stores when on the islands. There were some truly spectacular parrotfish, achilles tangs, nasos, and other herbivorous species fresh in the seafood aisle.

That’s not to say that the aquarium industry doesn’t have some harmful practices. We need better practices from collector to home aquarium. But some of the very broad generalizations are...well, broad. And overgeneralized.
+1

I think the onus is on them to prove that the previously done environmental survey is incorrect. And I don't think anecdotal evidence is very persuasive.
 

hds4216

Member
Country flag
So, there’s a lot of fallacies in this statement.

One, is to attribute the “missing dragon eels and flame angelfish” to the aquarium collection industry. I believe I read an account from “Snorkel Bob” about seeing a trio of firefish on trips, the trio disappearing, and then another trio of firefish appearing in a pet shop. The fallacy here is assuming that it must be the aquarium industry that caused the disappearing fish. Keep in mind that firefish and angelfish are both considered prey species. Eels can also be predated upon as well. Unless Umberger has personally witnessed aquarium collectors conducting harmful activity (preferably with video recording), I find it highly skeptical.

The Grabowski paper: how much of that was attributed to aquarium fish collection, and how much of it was attributed to local forage fishing? (Haven’t read the actual paper yet) I distinctly recall seeing convict tangs (mom’s notes: the flesh was fluffy like cotton and dry when baked) for sale in grocery stores when on the islands. There were some truly spectacular parrotfish, achilles tangs, nasos, and other herbivorous species fresh in the seafood aisle.

That’s not to say that the aquarium industry doesn’t have some harmful practices. We need better practices from collector to home aquarium. But some of the very broad generalizations are...well, broad. And overgeneralized.
First, Umberger does have evidence of harmful collection practices caught on camera. She has even been attacked by them: https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/25497853/scuba-diving-assault-caught-on-camera-off-kona-coast/

There is also substantial evidence that the aquarium collection practice has detrimental effects. A studied concluded "There was a significant difference in the abundance of aquarium fishes between control and collection sites but no differences in the abundance of nonaquarium species between these sites." https://www.researchgate.net/public...ollectors_on_Coral_Reef_Fishes_in_Kona_Hawaii

You don't get denied by the state Senate, state House, and unanimously rejected in your appeal by the Hawai'i Supreme Court and Hawaii’s Environmental Council without strong evidence that mismanagement is occurring, especially when you are on the side of the industry, which loses relatively rarely, especially on environmental issues.
 

smsreef

Well-known member
Country flag
Obviously this is being presented as a collection issue. I am curious if the real problem is a enforcement issue. Is sustainability achieved when the commercial collectors follow the rules?
No island has the resources to check every cooler or inspect the dive boats. I doubt the permit fees would even support the pay needed for the officers, let alone the boats and gas needed to arrest the poachers.

It’s easier to just shut it all down unfortunately. That way they can enforce on dry land and it makes it easy... If you have them, it’s against the law. Clear cut, no wiggle room.

We don’t really have anyone to blame but ourselves. IMO we have not done the self regulation needed to maintain a sustainable industry that doesn’t harm the reef. We are starting to do that work, and hopefully sustainable collection will be back on the islands in a few years.
 

Antics

A Memory of Light
Location
Florida
Country flag
I think that the work @Humblefish and others have done as far as trying to promote healthy fish goes a long way toward combating this issue.

This is such a multifaceted problem. Fish in our hobby/industry are artificially cheapened due to poor husbandry at the wholesale and LFS level. Sustainability would be severely increased if fish costs doubled or tripled because the more expensive the fish are the better care that they (should) receive. People scoff at expensive fish and coral because of the risk they pose when it comes to keeping it alive.

It feels like paying for the health of fish in general will necessitate fewer deaths and a significantly lower turnover of people going through 5 fish before one makes it past a year.
 
Industry has had since early 2013 to act, as that's when this all kicked off with the initial court challenge, as I understand things. Unless I'm mistaken, that seems to be quite the head in the sand method of operating. Quite like how much of the greater hobby operates and what drives most of my grievances with the commercial collection aspect of this hobby.
I mean - this is the real issue. It doesn't matter how accurate the data is that the opposition is basing their argument on if the major players in the aquarium industry aren't willing to mount an actual counter-argument and follow the path that the court has set out for them. You can't just ignore judges.
 

oceanfrontinNE

Well-known member
Country flag
So, there’s a lot of fallacies in this statement.

One, is to attribute the “missing dragon eels and flame angelfish” to the aquarium collection industry. I believe I read an account from “Snorkel Bob” about seeing a trio of firefish on trips, the trio disappearing, and then another trio of firefish appearing in a pet shop. The fallacy here is assuming that it must be the aquarium industry that caused the disappearing fish. Keep in mind that firefish and angelfish are both considered prey species. Eels can also be predated upon as well. Unless Umberger has personally witnessed aquarium collectors conducting harmful activity (preferably with video recording), I find it highly skeptical.
Yes. I thought exactly this as well. Correlation does not equal causation.
 
Top