Originally Posted by fijiwigi
I always wonder about wild caught fish. for all we know it could be at the end of its life expectancy. it could be 3500 dollars spent on a fish that has already lived its life and may not live very long in our tank.
Adult specimens usually do not do well when captured, and thus aren't the focus of the collectors. If you look in shops, the vast majority of fish you see, freshwater or marine, are juveniles, which adapt better to captivity. For example, say you're shopping for a Queen Angelfish, Holacanthus ciliaris. The one you'll buy will be between two and four inches long, which is a youngster. You'll have that 200 gallon tank ready to keep it. It'll take some time for that little juvenile to grow to an 18-inch beauty, and will live for many, many years after.
It'd make no sense for collectors to capture adults, because they do so poorly, they'd just lose money if they sold 'old' fish, or they died right after capture. Very quickly consumer confidence would falter, and the collectors' livelihood would suffer.
They aren't stupid. They capture young or immature fish because they are easier to ship, take less room in wholesale tanks, and do better adapting to home aquariums.