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Old 10-14-2003, 01:21 PM   #1
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environmental impact

Has anybody ever stopped and thought about the environmental impact of this hobby? Are we contributing to the destruction of the reefs? I hope people are purchasing as much tank bred livestock as possible and striving to do the least damage possible. I guess I'd like to clear my concience, I love this hobby, but I don't want to be responsible to environmental damage. So, I'd like to hear any information people have about the impact of this hobby and what can be done to minimize it.


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Old 10-14-2003, 01:55 PM   #2
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well theres two ways to look at it. if you are a responsible reef keeper and do everything you can to keep a healthy reef, you can actually be saving fish and corals. you take them out of an enviroment that could be unsafe with predators, pollution etc and take put them in a tank with a constant food supply, near perfect conditions, no predators, plenty of light etc. so we may actually be helping them


you can say that we are taking them out of their natural enviroment and destroying our reefs (however i think we are destroying much more of our rainforests than reefs)

some fish however normally stay in a small part of the reef that they call home, so putting them in a tank i dont think really hurts them much as long as they have adequate swimming space

just my thought on the subject

ps. i do still try to get as many tank raised fish and corals as i possibly can
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Old 10-14-2003, 03:36 PM   #3
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For many years I contemplated setting up a tank, but was concerned about the environmental impact. Recently I've become interested in the hobby, and was surprised to find books and web sites that talk about these concerns. I'm now in the stage of planning my first reef-tank. I like the notion of preserving a miniature version of a reef, now that it can be done with little or no impact. I'm planning a tank that will contain cultured rock, tank-raised fish, tank-raised coral, etc.

I intend to always question the source of my creatures, and to avoid raising them if I'm not convinced that they can survive in my tank. The last thing I want to do is to harvest a piece of a real reef and then have it die in my tank because of my lack of knowledge or experience.

So, to answer your question, yes, people are thinking about this.
Chris Goodwin
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Old 10-14-2003, 06:13 PM   #4
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This topic seems to surface now and then....

Here's my take - copied and pasted from another discussion in another forum...

...The responsibile hobbyist is very close to being a scientist. We know much more about corals due to the captive care & propagation of reefs. Without SW hobbyists, we would not have the grasp of coral propagation and captive SW fish breeding that we do now.

If it is a truly rare species, or something that we do not know how to care for, or something that we know does not thrive in captivity, then yes, those creatures should be left in the ocean (or to the true experts).

Without sounding like I'm standing on a soapbox, all the corals in my tank have been captively propagated. I also propagate my corals, and do my best to share them with other reefers. Not only does this limit the damage to natural reefs, but I do believe (in my own sick, twisted way), that my little glass box of ocean in my livingroom promotes an awareness & an appreciation of the coral reefs. Someone walks into my house and spends a couple hours staring at my tank. The coral reef is no longer "out of sight, out of mind".

Yes, the aquarium trade still does considerable damage to natural reefs. The responsible and ethical hobbyists and LFS's are working to change that.

stores that do not educate people on the fish or inverts should be shut down..if you see a store like this let them know and dont go there anymore.
Absolutely. However, they will only "shut down" if we choose not to do business with them. We have to be willing to spend the extra dollar to buy a quality item from a knowledgeable person.

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Old 10-14-2003, 07:03 PM   #5
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Your not the first to bring this up nor will you be the last. Take a look at a discussion that we had on this back at the start of the summer

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Old 10-14-2003, 10:33 PM   #6
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I would like to interject this. I got this in my e-mail yesterday but never had time to read it till just now and found it had significant relevance to this topic.


International Certification for the Quality and Sustainability
of Marine Aquarium Organisms ... from Reef to Retail

MAC News 3rd Quarter 2003

Director's Note

>From The Hague to Bali, companies and communities are engaging in the
global efforts of Marine Aquarium Council (MAC) Certification to ensure
that the marine ornamentals trade is sustainable and responsible. In
this issue of MAC News, you'll read about the most recent importers and
retailers to become MAC Certified, ongoing efforts in collection areas
in the Pacific to increase the quantity and diversity of MAC Certified
organisms available, and the latest MAC Certification education and
outreach efforts.

Industry participation in MAC Certification is growing steadily. There
are now 20 MAC Certified operations, including two collection areas, two
collectors associations and four exporters in the Philippines; four
importers and six retailers in North America; and two importers in
Europe. The only official list of MAC Certified entities is on the MAC
website at http://aquariumcouncil.org/subpage.a...=130&section=3
<http://aquariumcouncil.org/subpage.asp?page=130&section=3> .

Public commitments to seek to become MAC Certified have now been made by
95 companies in 18 countries, including 40 in the United States; 20 in
the Philippines; 9 in Indonesia; 5 in Fiji; 3 each in Australia and UK;
2 each in France, Germany and Solomon Islands; and 1 each in Bahrain,
Belau, Brazil, Canada, Israel, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain and
Taiwan. These companies are listed on the MAC website at
<http://aquariumcouncil.org/subpage.asp?page=167&section=3> .

EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA: MAC Certified Suppliers Now in Europe and US
East Coast

Importer Sierviskwekerij Waterweelde in The Netherlands is the first
company in Europe to achieve MAC Certification. This 30-year-old family
company is one of the world's largest marine ornamentals' import-export
companies and one of the largest aquatic retail outlets in Europe. It
reached the finals in the Enterprise of the Year Award 2003 for The
Hague region.

'We have always been an avid supporter of MAC and its objectives,' notes
owner Danny Winkels. 'It reflects our particularly high investment in
quarantine facilities, prophylactic research and animal husbandry. Our
name is associated with these high standards and our clients expect
nothing less.'

The second company in Europe and the first in the United Kingdom to
become MAC Certified is Tropical Marine Centre. TMC is the UK's largest
wholesale supplier of marine aquarium animals. It also operates one of
the largest commercial clownfish hatcheries.

In North America, importer Segrest Farms in Florida achieved MAC
Certification. Segrest has long been engaged in MAC efforts and was
active on the Standards Advisory Group. Absolutely Fish in New Jersey,
is the first retailer on the East Coast to achieve MAC Certification. It
also recently earned the 2003 award for Best Retail Store in North
America from Pet Product News. A second East Coast retailer, Venice Pet
Center in Florida, also became MAC Certified in the past quarter.

The contact information for these and other MAC Certified companies are
found on the only official list of MAC Certified organizations, located
on the MAC website at
<http://aquariumcouncil.org/subpage.asp?page=130&section=3> .

MAC Accredited certifiers SGS Product and Process Certification (The
Netherlands), Shizen Megumi Pacific Certification Services Ltd. (Canada)
and IMS International (UK) undertook these recent certifications.
Contact details for all MAC Accredited certifiers are on the MAC website
at http://www.aquariumcouncil.org/subpage.asp?page=125.

PHILIPPINES: US Agency for International Development (USAID) Supports
MAC Certification

USAID has recently approved a major Global Development Alliance grant
for 'Transforming the Marine Aquarium Trade (TMAT)' in the Philippines.
The goal of the three-year program is to build a critical mass of MAC
Certified collectors and collection areas in the Philippines. TMAT
brings together significant new collaboration, resources and
partnerships to help mainstream MAC Certification by 1) ensuring
collectors have the information and training to become MAC Certified; 2)
ensuring community stakeholders are able to develop and implement MAC
Certified ecosystem management for collection areas; and 3) ensuring MAC
and its partners have the capacity to develop, coordinate and implement
the TMAT program. More information will be reported on this project in
future issues of the MAC News.

In the southern Philippines, the Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM 2)
Program of USAID is supporting MAC efforts to work with local partners
to identify and assess collection areas and collector groups in the
Mindanao provinces of Zamboanga, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Jolo to ensure
the aquarium trade is sustainable. The target beneficiaries are former
secessionist combatants who have laid down their arms and are now
participating in USAID-supported programs for sustainable livelihoods
based on local coastal resources. The project was launched in August in
Zamboanga City with MAC partners Reef Check and the Mindanao State
University (MSU) Marine Research Development Foundation and will seek to
expand to include collectors training and collection area certification

MAC and Certified Companies Collaborate with Hobbyist Magazines

MAC, Freshwater and Marine Aquarium (FAMA) magazine and the MAC North
America Certified Industry Group (CIG) are collaborating to promote MAC
Certified marine ornamentals. The first full page ad developed together
appears in the October issue of FAMA and will run for one year. The CIG
is comprised of MAC Certified importers and retailers in the United
States and Canada, which now numbers 10. MAC is also working in close
partnership with Tropical Fish Hobbyist (TFH) magazine, which will soon
be running a regular MAC column focused on global conservation and the
marine ornamentals trade. TFH also sponsored Mike Paletta, keynote
speaker at the MAC co-hosted Marine Aquarium Hobbyist Day at the New
York Aquarium in September, and will have an article on MAC reef
conservation work in the Indo-Pacific in a supplement for an upcoming
issue of TFH.

Global Marine Aquarium Database Summary Report Available; UN Environment
Programme Supports Sustainable Marine Aquarium Trade

The United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring
Centre (UNEP-WCMC) launched the first ever detailed global estimate of
the state of the marine aquarium trade in its report 'From Ocean to
Aquarium: The Global Trade in Marine Ornamentals.' The report is made
possible by the data provided by exporters and importers from around the
world who are working with MAC and WCMC to ensure accurate information
on the trade is available.

In the UNEP press release, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer states,
'Collecting tropical fish brings pleasure to millions. It also fuels an
important, and mostly legitimate, industry.' He highlights the fact that
the global trade in marine species has great potential as a source of
desperately needed income for local fishing communities.

UNEP-WCMC Director Mark Collins reinforces this statement, noting: 'If
managed properly, the aquarium industry could support long-term
conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs in regions where other
options for generating revenue are limited.'

WCMC Marine Programme Director (and report co-author) Ed Green adds, 'We
encourage responsible traders to sign up to the MAC Certification scheme
and for the public to only buy from reputable dealers.'

The report is available on line at

INDONESIA: Indonesia Government and MAC Sign MOU; CAMP Developments
Proceed in Bali

The Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries signed a
memorandum of understanding (MOU) with MAC on July 24, 2003, formalizing
the strong government support for MAC's work in Indonesia. Government
representatives at the signing ceremony included the Ministry's Director
of Small Islands, Director of Marine National Parks and Conservation,
Director of Spatial Planning and Director General of Coasts and Small
Islands. MAC's Indonesia Director Gayatri Reksodihardjo-Lilley and
Executive Director Paul Holthus were also in attendance.

At the field level, progress towards MAC Certification continues in
North Bali where the Tejakula sub-district government convened a
full-day meeting of local fishermen, resort owners, community leaders
and local government officials to introduce and discuss the MAC
Collection Area Management Plan (CAMP) concept. At the Bali Province
level, MAC gave a presentation to stakeholders, including the
government's Head of Fisheries, Bali exporters, local Balinese
non-government organizations and fisheries officers from all over Bali
on MAC Certification. Two Bali-based exporters subsequently signed
statements of commitment to become MAC Certified.

PACIFIC ISLANDS: MAC Partnerships Increase as Regional Office Relocates
to Fiji and Adds New Staff

The Canada-South Pacific Ocean Development (C-SPOD) Program has taken an
active role in supporting the development of MAC Certification in the
Pacific through the South Pacific Forum Secretariat's project on Marine
Ornamentals Certification. Through the project MAC has raised awareness
and interest in MAC Certification and worked with the industry,
governments and collector communities on aquarium trade sustainability
and coral reef resource management. The region is poised for its first
MAC Certification by the end of this year in Fiji.

The Private Sector Division of the Forum Secretariat strengthened its
partnership with MAC and support for MAC Certification in the Pacific
Island countries with the appointment of the new Private Sector Advisor
Asif Chida and the Private Sector Officer Joshua Mael.

As part of improving MAC's efforts in the region, the MAC Pacific
Islands office has relocated from the Solomon Islands to Fiji. The new
location is at 298 Princess Rd (Bottom Flat), Tamavua, Suva, Fiji
Islands, Ph: (679) 3371779; Fax: (679) 3371773. The MAC Pacific Office
(MAC-PAC) includes five staff members (many of whom are supported by the
EC-funded project on Sustainable Management of the Marine Aquarium Trade
(reported on in MAC News 2nd Quarter 2003
<http://macweb.inets.com/docs/library/19/MACNEWS2ndQtr2003_final.PDF> ).
They include Pacific Regional Manager Michelle Lam, Regional Aquarium
Fish Officer Cherie Morris, Community Development Officer Jeff Kinch,
Resource Management Officer Gregory Bennett and Program Support Officer
Telu Baleivanualala. Information on the background, role and
responsibilities of the expanded MAC Pacific staff will be available on
the MAC website in the near future at
<http://aquariumcouncil.org/subpage.asp?page=71&section=12> .

MAC Standards and Accreditation Meet International Code of Practices

To ensure that its international standards and certification programs
are robust, transparent and comply with internationally accepted codes
of practice for conformity assessment and trade, MAC is a member of the
International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling
(ISEAL) Alliance. Through this global association of certification
organizations MAC complies with the ISEAL Code of Practices for Social
and Environmental Standards Setting and Certifier Accreditation and
participates in the ISEAL Peer Review Audit Program. ISEAL is an
international organization based in Bonn, Germany. Further information
on ISEAL can be found on the website at http://www.isealalliance.org/

MAC Certification Cited in Animal Welfare Report to UK Parliament

The June 2003 Report on the Welfare of Non-domesticated Animals Kept for
Companionship, prepared by the UK Companion Animal Welfare Council for
the United Kingdom parliament, recommends 'the development of a quality
assurance scheme which certifies that animals for sale in pet shops and
at other outlets are and have been cared for to specific standards. Such
certification would be granted only where the seller could demonstrate
that appropriate and auditable welfare and environmental standards had
been met from the original sourcing of the animal through to the point
of sale.' The recommendation refers to MAC Certification and notes that
'such schemes appear to offer a positive means to promote welfare
standards. In addition, they provide mechanisms by which standards can
be continually upgraded to keep abreast of developments in our
understanding of animals' needs.'

MAC Education and Outreach Efforts

Hobbyist Event Helps Introduce MAC to New York Region. On Sept. 13,
2003, MAC co-hosted the Marine Aquarium Hobbyist Day at the New York
Aquarium. The event focused on responsible aquarium keeping and featured
a series of presentations and exhibits. The keynote address by Mike
Paletta on propagating SPS Corals was sponsored by Tropical Fish
Hobbyist (TFH) magazine. Other speakers included John Brandt of the
Marine Aquarium Societies of North America on the aquarium fish industry
in the Philippines; Paul Loiselle of the New York Aquarium on
responsible aquarium fish keeping; Rick Preuss of Preuss Animal House
and Mark Schreffler of The Reef Shop on conservation through education;
and Joe Yaiullo of Atlantis Marine World on coral biology and its effect
on aquarium husbandry. Absolutely Fish, Aquatic Creations, Brooklyn Zoo
& Aquarium, the Brooklyn Aquarium Society, TFH and MAC provided
exhibits, and Marineland and Seachem Laboratories generously donated
door prizes. TFH, Freshwater and Marine Aquarium magazine, Reef Central,
the Brooklyn Aquarium Society and other local aquarium societies spread
the word about the event.

Marine Educators Welcome MAC at US Conference. MAC Certified retailers
Rick Preuss of Preuss Animal House and Mark Schreffler of The Reef Shop
joined MAC Communications Director Sylvia Spalding in delivering a
well-received presentation on MAC Certification at the National Marine
Educators Association annual conference in Wilmington, North Carolina,
in July. Educators visited the MAC exhibit booth to discuss marine
aquarium tanks as an educational tool in their classrooms and ways to
promote MAC Certification to their local retail shops.

Support for MAC Voiced at MACNA. In the opening plenary for the 2003
Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (MACNA), Martin Moe
delivered a powerful message of support for MAC Certification, calling
for those in the hobby and industry to 'get behind' MAC. David Vosseler,
MAC Americas and the Pacific Director, attended the September event, at
which the Louisville Marine Aquarium Society provided MAC with a
breakout session room and booth space. Frank discussions were held on
MAC efforts in a number of different forums including the two open
forums hosted by the American Marinelife Dealers Associations (AMDA).
The format of these two well-attended forums allowed for forthright and
wide-ranging discussions covering all aspects of the industry including
the present role and future plans for AMDA and MAC.

MAC Public Education Campaign for Responsible Aquarium Keeping Goes
Global. Knowing that the release of the Disney-Pixar animated film
Finding Nemo in the United States created great media interest in the
marine aquarium industry and hobby, MAC continued its responsible
aquarium keeping public education campaign as the film opened in
Australia in August. MAC also worked with retailer Joyhub Co. Ltd. to
translate into Chinese the educational card for beginning marine
aquarists that MAC developed for the US release of the film. The
Taiwanese company, which has publicly committed to becoming MAC
Certified, distributed about a thousand copies of the translated card at
a Taipei trade show. The card was well received and helped introduce MAC
to the Asia market. MAC public education outreach efforts will continue
in Europe and Japan as the film is released for public viewing in these
locations October through December. In conjunction with the UK premiere
of Finding Nemo on Sept. 28, UNEP-WCMC and MAC released a joint press
m/finding_nemo.pdf> on Sept. 30, which - along with a UNEP press release
m/Aquarium_NR.pdf> on the aquarium trade the same day - has generated
significant print, radio and TV media interest in the UK, France, Italy,
Spain, Norway, the US and elsewhere, some of which is noted in the MAC
in the News section below.

MAC Works to Partner with US Retailers. Retailers are one of the best
means for reaching marine aquarists to raise awareness them about issues
in the marine aquarium trade and the role of MAC Certification. To this
effect, MAC is working to form closer partnerships with interested
retail shops. In July, we distributed an info packet on MAC
Certification to nearly 3,000 US aquarium retail shops, resulting in
numerous inquiries on MAC Certification and several signed statements of
commitment to become MAC Certified. This project was funded in part by
the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Retailer information packets
are available on request to info@aqauariumcouncil.org
<mailto:info@aqauariumcouncil.org> .

MAC Certified Collection Areas Discussed at the World Parks Congress.
MAC was invited to participate in the 5th World Parks Congress in
Durban, South Africa, Sept. 8 to 17. More than 2,500 participants from
170 countries participated in this once-a-decade event that is the major
global forum on protected areas. MAC Asia Director Rezal Kusumaatmadja
delivered the presentation 'Trade-Based Incentives for Establishing
Management Areas and No-Take Zones' in a session on 'Benefits of MPA
Networks for Fisheries and Endangered Species: Experiences and
Innovation in Scaling Up to Build Networks.'
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