On March 11, 2016 I published an article entitled, National Geographic checks facts at the door. It was in response to a Nat Geo article, The Horrendous Ways Fish Are Captured for your Aquarium, with Cyanide. In the article, a Nat Geo staff writer claims that 90% of all marine aquarium fish are collected using sodium cyanide, a process that is known to both kill fish, corals and devastate natural reefs. After reading the article, I was shocked to think that 90% of marine aquarium fish are collected with cyanide, as it’s well known among aquarists that cyanide collected fish often die shortly after acquisition. In my experience as an aquarist (which spans over 15 years) I certainly haven’t seen 90% of my fish die within a short period of time. This however is entirely anecdotal, and only based on my own personal experience.
I began looking through the evidence Nat Geo used to compile their articles. At the time, it appeared to me that there was a misrepresentation of data, used by Nat Geo. Since the article was published, I’ve spoken to several people far more aware of the situation with cyanide collection than I. I am formally rescinding the statements I made, in the article referenced above.
After several months of researching and dialogue with various individuals, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s difficult to know with any certainty, just what percentage of marine aquarium fish are collected with cyanide. I have also come to accept, that I am unqualified to make statements about the use of cyanide in the collection of marine aquarium fish. Without any first-hand knowledge of the situation, I cannot determine with any accuracy, percentages of fish collected with cyanide. Is it 90% as Nat Geo suggest, I simply do not know.
To conclude, I am attaching two films. The first is a hippo tang’s journey from the coral reef to a home aquarium. It is produced by the Sustainable Aquarium Industry Association, which is a European non-profit. The other is a film entitled Deadly Spray in the Archipelago, produced by Nanang Sujana, an Indonesian filmmaker and marine biologist. It was after reaching out to Nanang, that I decided a formal retraction of my statements was in order. I apologize for the confusion.
[vimeo 48282625 w=640 h=360]
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/48282625″>Deadly Spray in the Archipelago</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user2512259″>Nanang Sujana</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>