Wild caught vs Farmed. which is better from an environmental perspective? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Wild caught vs Farmed. which is better from an environmental perspective?

Hello every everyone, I've recently started posting on this site although i have been lurking for a while.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been roaming some of the treads here and claiming that in general its better for the environment to buy wild caught animals than farmed or even locally bred ones .

This was met by scepsis by some of you, and since i didn't want to explain my self over and over again or spoil those threads with my ramblings, I thought i would start a new thread where i explained myself .

I think this subject is as interesting as its important, so i would love to get a discussion going about it. It may even turn out I'm wrong, but that's OK . The important thing is to sort out what is fact and what is assumption or rumor, so that we can make decisions based on facts when were in the LFS.

Here we go.

When someone claims something like this people usually presumes it has to do with the fish farms. And there is problems related to them, pollution,
risk of introducing invasive species or pathogens among other things.

But if we forget about the fish farms and try to look at the big picture, well realise that the biggest threat to these fish and their environment is habitat destruction. These days there's no place on earth that doesn't feel the pressure our exploding population, and everyone has to eat right? So if a piece of land or water for that matter doesn't provide food or money for the people living there they will do something about it.

To give a few examples they might introduce a new species of fish that is a better food source than the existing ones, Lake tanganyika and the nile perch comes to mind, or that lake in Sulawesi with those cool "new" shrimp (snakehead and tlapia was it?) Another thing that is popular right now is bio fuel (must save the environment ), so that good for noting swampforest where those tiny uneatable fish lives, lets chop it down, ditch it out and then we can grow oilpalms or sugar canes. You can also build houses of liverock, or fish with dynamite.

The old assumption that its better to leave the fish alone might have been true a long time ago, but that's not the way the world works nowadays.

What we need to do is to give people a reason to conserve that pice of nature, and if a few can make a living by collecting animals or plants from it well it might not be enough to save every pice of nature, but at least there will be a voice there trying to defend their livelihood.
And sometimes it does work! For exaple there was plans to introduce nileperch in Lake Malawi but the fishcollectors managed to prove it would mean an economical loss, so Lake Malawi is safe at least for now... I also have a hard time seeing anyone would want to mess with the area where they collect Cardinal tetras.

There is allot of rumors going round about all these fish being fished to extinction for the aquarium trade but i cant think of any where Ive seen any proof. Some anemones might fit the bill, but that's it. Oh wait Asian arrowana. And even if a couple species did go extinct, the positive benefits of wild collection outweighs the negative.

Lets look at things from an environmental perspective only in this tread cant we? Theres other factors ass well such as animalhealth, adaptability to captivity and not to forget price! All those things are important to but that's a whole other thread.

Here's some links (they where given to me by a celebrity )

Conservation Benefits of Wild Capture and Captive Rearing in the Ornamental Fish Industry

Decade of Project Piaba: Reflections and Prospects

Healthy Reefs and Fish, Healthy Business and Hobby:A Sustainable Future for the Marine Ornamentals Trade

Buy a Fish, Buy a Coral, Save a Reef: The Importance of Economic Incentives to Sustain Conservation
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 09:38 PM
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I think you are confusing 3 not 2 issues.
wild catching
fish farming
captive breeding.

fish farming pertains more to edible fish such as salmon, not hobby fish.
the distinction being that fish farming partially exposes the fish to the
environment, while captive breeding does not.


Man's encroachment on limited natural habitat has far more impact on
indigenous species and specimen collectors, who by their sheer desire
to collect in the wild, actually help to preserve the habitat fish live.

this is why there are programs in South and Central America to grow
indigenous wildlife and plants for hobby's, consumer goods, and tourism,
rather than clear the land for food farming and cattle.

obviously such wild collecting needs to have controls not to over fish
any given habitat. barring these issues, captive breeding is superior,
if feasible to any given species, when serving the hobby or food trade.

as for fish farming for food, the issue is far more deadly than just the
environment. fish farming concentrate toxins in the fish for consumption,
and exposes the live stock to far more incidence of disease, thus the
farmed fish cannot be released back into the wild.

fish farming was only created to meet consumption needs when wild
catching is limited or unavailable, so clearly wild catchings is superior,
and fish farming is only done by necessity or economics of scale.


even in your Malawi example, encroachment by civilization is unstoppable
so the damage could be limited if endangered wildlife were identified and
saved, by setting habitat aside, relocation, or captive breeding programs.

in the Sulawesi shrimp's case, I welcome as much wild catching as possible
to save these species to any possible captive breeding, as the ever
encroaching mining operations poison their environments without a
care in the World for what is being lost.

it's naive to limit any discussions to environmental impact only, as there
is an impact on some native people's culture, economics, ethics, etc.
which all contribute to the environment in which we and the animals live.

again, I don't really know what point you are trying to make
since you are combining so many issues into your essay.
perhaps you can re-postulate your central concern so we
can have a more focused and constructive discussion.


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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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I just wanted to explain why I believe its better for the environment to by wild caught animals than farmed ones, since some people have questioned this in other threads.

And to do this I felt It would be good to bring up a few examples to make my point.Witch basically is "What we need to do is to give people a reason to conserve that pice of nature" and buying fish from them is a good way of doing that.

If you dont understand my ramblings just read my links, i like the first one it has pictures .

-"I think you are confusing 3 not 2 issues. wild catching, fish farming, captive breeding."

I dont think so, I know fish farming (for the aquarium trade) isn't that much of an issue, that's why i wrote: -"But if we forget about the fish farms and try to look at the big picture"

And captive breeding is completely different from commercial fish farming, but it has one thing in common with commercial farming, it does not provide any direct economical return to the conservation of the species in its natural habitat.

What i meant by keeping the discussion to environmental impact, is that otherwise people wold start to claim that tank raised animals usually adapts more easily to captivity, or that its cruel to take an animal that's used to the wild and put in a glass box or that they think red discus is prettier than wild forms. stuff like that.

But those arguments would be based on animal health, esthetics and such rather than what inpact it has on the environment.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 10:49 PM
 
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Captive breeding at my has no ill effects. Claiming it does is just stupid. Do you think anyone with power cares about the aquarium hobby/ wild collecting?
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Oh btw I'm talking about fish farming vs Wild caugth for the aquarium trade only, I thought that could go unsaid.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 11:05 PM
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it's a complicated issue. But I think over all, it's better to buy captive bred/fish farming...

I'll take reef salt water fish as an example... In lots of places, the reefs are destroyed because of fishing/capturing. The wild fish have no chance to recover because of the dead reefs.

So, that's my point. We have to think about sustainability too.


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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by neilfishguy View Post
Captive breeding at my has no ill effects. Claiming it does is just stupid. Do you think anyone with power cares about the aquarium hobby/ wild collecting?
If you breed fish that's great, I'm not claiming it has ill effects.

I claim that the fish collectors in the fishes natural habitat will make a buck if you by wild caught. And if you by captive bred they wont.

I dont think anyone with power cares about the aquarium hobby/ wild collecting. I dont think they care about the environment at all (most of them),
and that's why I think we have to make local people care, the easiest way of doing that is by making their environment valuable to them. Collecting fish for the pet trade is one way of doing that. Eko-tourism would be another example, but this is a aquarium forum so we dont need to go in to that .
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 11:28 PM
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Addo is making some good points. When it comes right down to it, money, for the most part, makes the world go round. And if there is money to be had by preserving a piece of nature and using it for limited collection, then that's good for the environment, on the balance.

But it's probably best not to make generalizations. In some cases it's better to collect from the wild. For example, species that are not endangered and are found across a large area. But in other cases it's better to have captive breeding, such as endangered species from isolated and threatened habitats (I guess the celestial pearl danio fits there, though I haven't really followed the species).

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 11:39 PM
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A well managed well run captive situation is likely best.

Would you also suggest we only take wild cows and milk wild animals?
Only collect what nature has to offer as far as wheat, rice, and all the agricultural crops? Shoot any passing bird for fried crow?
Well managed natural gathering?

Why is the domestic fish trade different than that?

For one, we have eat.
No one has to keep fish at all.
Not one person on this list.
We waste water, electricity, resources, gas, time etc.....these are luxury items.

Not essential.

If you really want to argue for environmental causes like this, start at the root, human over population. Then move to talking everyone out of keeping any pets.

What happens if the species goes extinct in the wild?
Then where's your argument?
Just allow that to occur?
There are more argument for than against on this topic.

You really should focus on improving the farming/aquaculture practices if you feel this way.

Not suggesting this argument here to hobbyists in the PLANT hobby.
The plants we get and keep are easily grown and cultivated, we have virtually no impact on native populations.

I think well managed wild populations are great, however, like poor aquaculture, there are issues with bad management on both sides of this.

As far as health, well, there's no doubt, captive critters do better in captivity. Same with domesticated crop vs wild ancestral crops.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-02-2008, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
it's a complicated issue. But I think over all, it's better to buy captive bred/fish farming...

I'll take reef salt water fish as an example... In lots of places, the reefs are destroyed because of fishing/capturing. .
Give me an example of where reefs are destroyed because of fishing/capturing to the aquarium trade?

Ive been looking around like crazy to find evidence of stuff like that (i knew this is controversial so i wanted to be prepared) The only thing I found was that some anemones are threatened in the wild because of the aquarium trade, or i didn't find any real evidence other that its just common knowledge and no one disagrees with you when you say it. (Ive been hanging around different reef forums for the last 3 years so Ive been in allot of anemone discussions)

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Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
The wild fish have no chance to recover because of the dead reefs.
Unfortunately this is true in allot of places But the biggest danger to warm water reefs Is global warming, destruction of mangrove forests, overfishing, Mining of liverock to build houses, pollution, dynamite fishing you know the usual. Ofcourse this is on a global scale and problems warry from country to country.

But ill bet you'll have a hard time finding Any example where the aquarium trade is responsible for this: "The wild fish have no chance to recover because of the dead reefs"

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
We have to think about sustainability to
Off course its just that i dont Se allot of examples where overfishing could happen. off course there are examples where it could, and where it is happening. And in those cases restrictions should be put in to place to protect that species.

I personally think it would be great to Se more local breeding programs, where only local species were bred.

Btw mistergreen I acted a bit childish to you in the recessive gen thread, and I want to apologise for that.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-02-2008, 02:18 AM
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There are definitely positives to wild collection in some cases.

I have read that the collection of cardinal tetras is in the millions per year, yet has not affected the wild populations. The money from the collection allows the local people to refuse new development of industry that would be harmful to the fish through pollution.

If it weren't for the income collection of cardinal tetras provides, the local people would likely welcome such industry, as it would provide jobs and a boon to the local economy.

Bottom line, the wild collection of cardinal tetras is helping preserve the species and it's habitat.

The question is, how many such situations exist? There are constant accusations of marine fish collected with arsenic, or by ripping corals apart by hammer to get to them. Clearly these methods do not help the environment, though questionably they could be destroying it slower than other alternatives

As always, sustainability needs to be the first concern, the method of application should be secondary.

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-02-2008, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by addo View Post
Give me an example of where reefs are destroyed because of fishing/capturing to the aquarium trade?
This article mentioned lots of reasons for the reefs dying including the pet trade.
http://www.endangeredspecieshandbook...atic_coral.php


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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-02-2008, 06:19 AM
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Minsc, i totally agree with you with the Rio Negro case. elsewhere there's no such thing like that. controlling wild collection is alot harder than prohibiting it.


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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-02-2008, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Canoe2Can View Post
But it's probably best not to make generalizations. In some cases it's better to collect from the wild. For example, species that are not endangered and are found across a large area. But in other cases it's better to have captive breeding, such as endangered species from isolated and threatened habitats (I guess the celestial pearl danio fits there, though I haven't really followed the species).
Of course we should not by wild caught endangered species!

The reason I feel comfortable with making this generalization is that there's so few examples of where the collection of animals for the aquarium hobby would be of any threat to the species collected.

But when it does pose a threat we have organisations such as cites that step in and regulate the trade of those species.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-02-2008, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
A well managed well run captive situation is likely best.
In a world where people could afford to leave nature alone I think it would be best if we got all our animals from operations like this. Unfortunately this is not the case in most areas where our fish live in the wild. The local people have to feed their kids, and there aren't many eko-friendly alternatives for doing that. And the local governments doesn't have enough resources to protect their nature.

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Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Would you also suggest we only take wild cows and milk wild animals?
Only collect what nature has to offer as far as wheat, rice, and all the agricultural crops? Shoot any passing bird for fried crow?
Well managed natural gathering?
I would pay good money to se someone trying to milk a wild Bison LOL

No but seriously, I think collecting from the wild is the most eko-friendly alternative as long as it doesn't put to much strain on the population of the species it targets. Naturally this would not work as a sustainable food supply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
If you really want to argue for environmental causes like this, start at the root, human over population. Then move to talking everyone out of keeping any pets.
I thought it would be more relevant to discuss the collection of fish for the aquarium hobby, since this is an aquarium forum. You are right about over population being a huge problem, I have no idea what to do abut it though.

And I dont really want to argue, I just wanted to explain why i think that in general its better for the environment to by wild caught fish.

It would be very boring not to have pets so i wouldn't want to discourage anyone from that

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Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
What happens if the species goes extinct in the wild?
Then where's your argument?
Just allow that to occur?
There are more argument for than against on this topic.
Ive wouldn't want that to happen, but the examples where it could are very few! And in those cases we have organisations like cites, and local government to step in and control the trade.

I newer said there was no exceptions i said "in general"

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
You really should focus on improving the farming/aquaculture practices if you feel this way.
No I should focus, on sponsoring and encouraging sustainable fish collecting practises. Bying MAC-certified fish and coral is one example of that, buying a cardinal tetra is another.

Improving aquaculture practices is also good, but it wold still not give a direct economical return to the conservation of the species in its wild habitat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
The plants we get and keep are easily grown and cultivated, we have virtually no impact on native populations.
Of course you have no impact on native populations, but habitat destruction has!

BTW I prefer to get my plants from local hobbyists, I'm not the soup nazi of the aquarium world

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
I think well managed wild populations are great, however, like poor aquaculture, there are issues with bad management on both sides of this.
Couldn't agree more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
As far as health, well, there's no doubt, captive critters do better in captivity.
Couldn't agree more. There's lots of good reasons to by home bred/farmed animals. Its just that the popular belief seem to be that buying wild caught is generally bad for the environment, when the opposite is true.
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