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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Someone showed this on my Local Forums and think that any Saltwater advocates should know about this.

"Snorkel Bob" is now a part of the Sea Shepherds. He is a huge advocate of shutting down the marine aquarium hobby, so something to watch. It is something of concern as being a part of the Sea Shepherds gains advocates of shutting down the hobby a boost in publicity.

Here it is http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/snorkel-bob-joins-sea-shepherd-board-of-directors/article_3fc5817c-347b-11e2-b596-001a4bcf887a.html
 

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And the conservation advocates!
 

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How about ban tourists and water activity in Hawaii too

Letting people go in the water and inadvertently destroy the corals is more damaging, not to mention the hundreds of boats polluting the waters.
 

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I feel weird for saying this, but I agree with them... The saltwater hobby as a whole is detrimental to the marine environment. Not only does it damage populations of certain species, it also is very damaging to the ecosystem as a whole with the introduction of invasive organisms such as the lionfish in the Caribbean. Personally, I would be very hesitant about getting anything for a saltwater tank that was not possible to breed in a domestic environment.
 

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I feel weird for saying this, but I agree with them... The saltwater hobby as a whole is detrimental to the marine environment. Not only does it damage populations of certain species, it also is very damaging to the ecosystem as a whole with the introduction of invasive organisms such as the lionfish in the Caribbean. Personally, I would be very hesitant about getting anything for a saltwater tank that was not possible to breed in a domestic environment.
I agree. If I ever got into the saltwater hobby I would only buy farm-raised corals and animals, not anything taken from the sea. Also whaling is an outdated and barbaric practice.
 

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I used to keep saltwater tanks, and I tried to get everything aquacultured/tank-raised. And live rock came from Tampa Bay Saltwater, where they're required to replace as much rock as they took out, and let it sit for a given number of years so it could re-populate with corals and fish.

The primary problem with the marine trade is that we don't actually know how much of this stuff is being removed. We know what *arrives here alive* -- that's what gets recorded. But we don't know how much dies before they even get it into a box, or how much dies in between middle men, or how much is dead on arrival.... And the practices that people use to get the fish and coral out of the water are highly destructive to the environment. Coral isn't just gently plucked off a reef -- it's usually hammered or even dynamited. Fish are often netted (and anything that isn't marketable is just chucked aside to die), stunned with electricity (which zaps everything around), or even poisoned. It just isn't cool.

And in response to a previous comment about tourism -- yes, it's destructive. But it's not destructive in the way you think it is. Direct damage to corals from people is pretty small in the big scheme of things. The real damage comes from the carbon dioxide emissions flying to and from your destination, even if you're going to Canada versus the Caribbean (ocean acidification and rising sea surface temperatures), tearing down forests to build hotels (erosion/sedimentation, wastewater treatment), flying in food to feed tourists (more CO2, and waste in general), etc.

Certainly everything we do has an impact, some things greater than others. Keeping tanks has its impact, even if we buy all tank-raised species, because we're burning fossil fuels to run lights, powerheads, filters, etc., and constantly changing/topping off water, etc. Everything is a trade-off.
 

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I have a saltwater tank. I proudly only have captive bread fish in it. Where the rock came from I have no idea (came with the tank). We as hobbyist as a whole are not so bad. Most of us do the best we can to not buy products that have come from the destruction of nature. Yes, there are those that think they are above the rules, and do what they please. I know for a fact that Bangaii cardinals are one of the most popular fish. They are also one of the easiest to breed being mouth brooders. Yet still an entire local population was fished till none were left.

Guess why?

More demand for cheaper fish. Captive bread fish tend to be more expensive.

As a whole the aquarium trade has been destructive. We drove the demand for these fish, rock, and corals. We showed the wholesalers and retailers that we're willing to pay for that incredibly rare fish. Pay for that incredibly cute fish that turns out to be a monster sized tank buster.

Do I agree with Sea Shepherds methods? Sometimes yes, but mostly I feel they need to stick to whales. Let the aquarium hobbyist set the example.

ps: same concept applies to freshwater as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Who is snokel bob?
His name is Robert Wintner. Better known as Snorkel Bob from his Snorkel Bob SCUBA Shops in Hawaii.

He also is majorly involved in conservation activist groups. He has started a war on the Aquarium Hobby by attempting to shut down all collection of fish from Hawaiian waters and would love to shut it down world wide.

He makes statements like "the collection of fish is inhumane because they might die in captivity" to make us look bad and him look like some loving caring nature man.

This is the same guy who claims coreline algae grows on corals and kills them because they don't get enough food/light, that tangs eat the coreline algae, and that they eat it off the corals. He is not somebody to be taken seriously.
 

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Although Bob seems a little confused about the different types of algae, what their roles/functions are, and who eats what, I think the overall message of conservation is warranted. And you have to understand where he's coming from. His business relies entirely on there being healthy, vibrant corals to look at. He wouldn't sell/rent much equipment if there were a bunch of dead, algae-dominated ex-reefs to look at. Tropical areas the world over are watching their reefs die from disease, bleaching and ecological imbalances created from over-fishing and eutrophication. The marine aquarium trade is just one more threat in a very long list. There is very little that he personally can do about carbon dioxide emissions, disease and over-fishing, but he CAN try to stop this one threat.

Seriously, though... and this isn't a snarky question -- what do you have against conservation? If cost were not an issue, wouldn't you prefer to buy tank-bred species versus ones that were ripped off a reef somewhere?

I think we could all do the hobby a favor if we were more conservation-minded and tried to "self-regulate" ourselves before other people do it for us. Part of the reason I switched to freshwater was because of the greater availability of farm-raised/tank-bred/aquacultured plants and fish.
 

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I don't understand how these people think putting nature further and further out of reach for people by eliminating these plant & animal hobbies is supposed to help the environment(???).

Isn't an important part of protecting the environment having advocates among the people who care about nature?
 

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This issue is what ultimately made me leave saltwater as a hobby in the 90s. I just couldn't justify the costs for the environment and the demands of keeping the animals healthy with MH lights and chillers... It became obvious to me that the enjoyment I derived was at way too high a cost and then the guilt set in...
 

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I don't understand how these people think putting nature further and further out of reach for people by eliminating these plant & animal hobbies is supposed to help the environment(???).

Isn't an important part of protecting the environment having advocates among the people who care about nature?
I couldn't agree more - I have a 150 gallon salt tank in my classroom. I use it to talk to my students about marine ecology. Simply by maintaining one in the classroom they can see first hand the importance of keeping our environment "clean". Also the fish that I bring in are captive bread (as far as I know).

I can not take all of my students to the ocean to show them its beauty in hopes of getting them to care for the enviroment, I can however bring small parts to them.
 

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I couldn't agree more - I have a 150 gallon salt tank in my classroom. I use it to talk to my students about marine ecology. Simply by maintaining one in the classroom they can see first hand the importance of keeping our environment "clean". Also the fish that I bring in are captive bread (as far as I know).

I can not take all of my students to the ocean to show them its beauty in hopes of getting them to care for the enviroment, I can however bring small parts to them.
Glad I never had your class, I would never get anything done. I would be in a constant hypnotic gaze on the tank! ;)

I have heard that only about 10% of wild caught marine animals actually make it into a home aquarium where they live out the rest of their lives.

I think there should be a more strict policing of the industry as a whole, but to completely end it? That is not the middle way.

Like has been pointed out many are not connected the ocean in anyway they live thousands of miles from it, the aquarium hobby helps them to connect with this nature and when they are connected usually they want to conserve.
 

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This is actually exactly why i have never gotten into saltwater tanks. We need to be only buying fish that are captive raised. I feel like people jump to the idea of a fish being "wild caught" as making the fish superior, when in fact its only damaging wild populations.

There is a compromise to be made here, but it would take a huge movement by those of use in aquarium keeping to be the responsible party. There is nothing more damaging to a local environment than an invasive species, freshwater (asian carp, snakehead), saltwater (as mentioned lionfish living along the shorelines of the South), or on dry land (example the huge influx in wild pigs in the US that are all European decent).

While i am sure that freshwater tanks have contributed in some way to invasive population of a species, I do think that as long as we are using captive bred fish, there should be no backlash on our side of aquariums.
 

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I feel weird for saying this, but I agree with them... The saltwater hobby as a whole is detrimental to the marine environment. Not only does it damage populations of certain species, it also is very damaging to the ecosystem as a whole with the introduction of invasive organisms such as the lionfish in the Caribbean. Personally, I would be very hesitant about getting anything for a saltwater tank that was not possible to breed in a domestic environment.
I agree with you, however, the DNA tests on the lion fish showed that they came from an aquarium in Florida, not from the hobbyist's tank. They apparently were released into the wild as a result of a hurricane.
 
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