Is our hobby killing the wild reefs?

Jkedra

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ok well while we are on this topic I got a question (that many of you might think is really stupid but whatever)

since live rock is taken out of the oceans almost every single day, for captive tanks and etc., aren't we doing more damage by taking out all this rock?
 

Imbarrie

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To a certain degree it is.

Yet there are more forces at hand destroying reefs.
Coral bleaching is causing far more devastating results and it is not caused by this hobby.
Agricultural runoff and topsoil erosion can kill entire reef systems.

The planet can overcome long term shocks to the environment but that is not to say it will absorb the abuse humans place on it. Sometimes the planet has wiped out most living species in reaction to external events.


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bethzb

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The amount of damage to reefs due to hobbyist based upon improper collection etc. is minuscule compared to the amount of damage due to polution, physical damage from marine traffic (groundings, anchors etc.), and to the general increase in climate extremes. However, also due to hobbiests, we all have the equivelant of mini Noah's arks. If we maintain and improve our husbandry we are actually maintaining small pieces of the reef's of the world. There is no reason the stuff we grow in our tanks couldn't be returned to a natural reef via fragging. There are genetic banks being created in the US (Mote Marine, GARF, the girl in the keys with her elk horn project). If we continue to improve, we can add many reef fish to our growing list of captive grown (and somewhat hardier) species. We just have to remember that the non-colorful species should also get a bit of attention from us as hobbiests so we can maintain bio-diversity. IN addition, think of the thousands, possibly millions of hobbyists around the world. There is our genetic diversity (so yes, occasionally wild collected corals will be necessary).

Right now the "in thing" is Australian corals. In the past it has been Fiji, or Hawaii, Red Sea or Pacific corals. If you take all of these into account, we all have something from everywhere and so, our little pieces of the reef could eventually be needed and used to restore the bigger reef's once world wide conditions are stabilized.
 

Imbarrie

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Things from tanks returning to the ocean is a BAD idea.
There are behavior and genetic modifications that occur in tanks that could be completely incompatible with a return to nature.
That is how Calerpa is killing reefs in France. Exactly the opposite intention of what you desire.


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bethzb

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Things from tanks returning to the ocean is a BAD idea.
There are behavior and genetic modifications that occur in tanks that could be completely incompatible with a return to nature.
That is how Calerpa is killing reefs in France. Exactly the opposite intention of what you desire.


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Introducing invasive species is BAD idea. Re-introducing, back into its' natural environment however is not. Many of the reef restoration projects underway are based upon tank raised or fragged corals that originally came from that region. If there are 1,000 frags available from a mother colony located at 50 feet off of Fiji, and that coral is no longer seen in the wild, then yes, returning the semi-domestic form its' original environment is no bad thing. I do not advise the hobbiest to do this obviously however, there are a number of scienctific programs that are doing this already. We as hobbiests just help to maintain some genetic diversity.
 

Dre

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I wouldn't worry about the ecosystem besides there is very little you and i can do. If you refuse to buy a wild caught animal someone else will buy it. And yes the hobby is destroying the reefs etc. it's our time to reign. Unfortunately only a small percetage of us care enough to replenish but will that be enough? I doubt that very much and the earth has it's way of healing and dealing with undesirables.
 

noobzy

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If you refuse to buy a wild caught animal someone else will buy it.
Not really a true statement... we all represent a percentage of reef-related sales - maybe a small percentage, but a tangible one nonetheless. If 20% of us all stopped buying wild caught fish, the demand would lessen. Given a state of lessening demand, fewer fish will be caught.

The other side of this coin is that as a demand grows for tank-raised fish, stores will try to cater to that market as well. This is no different from cage-free eggs, organic produce, etc.
 

Imbarrie

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How can you tell the difference though. I would pay more for a tank bred fish knowing it had less impact to reefs. I know more people in here would also.
 

noobzy

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How can you tell the difference though. I would pay more for a tank bred fish knowing it had less impact to reefs. I know more people in here would also.
Same way you know that a restaurant is truly vegetarian, or that your produce is organic, or that your eggs are cage free, or that your power is renewable; regulatory committees, investigative reporters, etc :)
 

Aqua Pro Builder

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There is no straight easy answer to this question.

I think only education can help to keep the wild reefs.

Lets look beyond the direct effect of taking one fish out from the wild and putting it in our tank. Without, this hobby the divers are less likely to catch the ornamental fish and put it in the market for us to buy. Lets assume without this trade, how do those divers continue to survive when the population of the village continue to grow? They probably go further out to catch bigger fish to sell as food but when all of those bigger fish are netted by inudustrialized fishing armada(this has already devastated many villages in the south ASia,) the village start to catch the smaller fish around the reef such as the smaller bass. When the villagers' population continue to grow, what can they do to supplement their income? They probably go farming, but without proper education of farming run-offs also kills the wild reefs and, in general, in a much faster manner than improper collecting of the ornamental fish. Remember, most chemical companies are more than willing to sellt hem fertilizers without educating the user how to avoid run-offs. There are many other factors playing here. To keep the wild reef alive, the most important factor is education in ALL ASPECTS, be it proper collection technique, mariculture, handling in shipping, farming technique, the concept of "green", and so forth. And, the most destructive factor of killing the wild reefs is our own population issue. To maintain more human beings poplution, we need a lot more education in ALL ASPECTS too so as to lower the damge to the wild.
 
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Aqua Pro Builder

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Hmm I don't have a netflix account to watch the documentary.

Talking about documentary, try to search for r-selected organisms/population. I believe most of the hobby species are r-selected organisms and thus should be governed by their roles of life cycle. Our hobby can be viewed as a small form of predator of them. However, our continual increase in population is a plaque to r-selected organism because r-selected organism, habitat is their key to seek re-populate, Therefore, our continual industrialization without proper education in protecting their habitat is what actually kill the wild reef.
 

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