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Oahu Aquarium Trade Impacts


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Aquarium collecting for the U.S. mainland aquarium hobby has decimated Hawaii reefs. Learn about the impacts and what you can do to help protect Hawaii reefs and wildlife from the aquarium trade.

Aquarium collecting for the U.S. mainland aquarium hobby has decimated Hawaii reefs. Learn about the impacts and what you can do to help protect Hawaii reefs and wildlife from the aquarium trade.

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  • 1. The Case for Ending Hawaii’s Reef Wildlife Trade A Review of the Impacts“…fish left on the reef benefit the reef, as well as Hawaii’s economy.” -March 2008 Legislative findings by the Hawai`i State Senate in SB 3225 January 2013 1
  • 2. Taking coral in Hawai`i is illegal. Even rocks are fully protected.But coral reef wildlife is taken in limitless numbers by aquarium collectors. 2
  • 3. U.S. Consumer demand11 millionreef fish importedeach year…to stock an estimated 1.2million U.S. household &public display aquariums. 3
  • 4. Hawaii#1 Philippines #2 Indonesia #3 Hawaii
  • 5. Hawaii GREAT BARRIER REEFVolume from Hawaii is higher than Australia, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga, French Polynesia and Kiribati reefs, combined.
  • 6. 1976 Top 101953• First AQ collecting permits issued1973• Concerns grow and AQ moratoriumdiscussed1980 – 1994• 3 storms damage shallow reefs• Fish migrate• Collectors follow & focus efforts• Commercial collapse 6
  • 7. 403/413 = Makaha/Kaena 402/412 = Barber’s/Maile Pt. 401 = Ewa Beach Collectors forced to shift to other species, including “…these declines undoubtedly reflect low numbers invertebrates; of [small] yellow tangs on the reefs…” other islands, rapidly expanding on the Kona coast,The Commercial Marine Aquarium Fishery in Hawai‘i, 1976-2003 Big Island.William J. Walsh, Stephen S.P. Cotton, Jan Dierking and Ivor D. Williams 7
  • 8. Ave. Catch Ave. Catch 2011 Ave. %Species 1976 - 1980 since 2001 Catch DeclineLongnose Butterflyfish 5,082 0 0 -100%Forcepsfish 3,976 1,834 1,320 -54%Teardrop Butterflyfish 2,616 228 146 -91%Fourspot Butterflyfish 2,915 439 250 -85%Multiband Butterflyfish 2,642 1,147 696 -57%Milletseed Butterflyfish 2,825 1,638 1,443 -42%Bluestripe Butterflyfish 2,226 412 768 -81%Bandit Angelfish since 2007 1,380 227 **493 -84%Psychedelic Wrasse 3,306 1,060 1,094 -68%Yellow Tang 73% ‘81-’03 22,835 10,197 **19,581 -55%Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse 1,855 749 485 -60%Moorish Idol 2,736 1,387 957 -49% 8
  • 9. Dr. Gail Grabowksy’s Reef Survey’s: AQ fish are rare everywhere compared to Hanuama Bay True even for Pupukea and Coconut island in Kaneohe Bay 90% 9Gail Grabowsky (2011)
  • 10. Fishery: Achieve maximum sustainable yield All animals considered dead, once taken Ecosystem roles & socio-economic values ignoredWildlife as Pets: Universally discouraged/prohibited Carries legal and ethical responsibilities Provide life sustaining care No harm, injury, killing without needCoral Reef Animals: Play essential & fundamental roles in ecosystem Have high aesthetic, recreational, cultural values 10
  • 11. Healthy coral reefs are essential to the socio-economic well-being of Hawaii’s residents Educational For future generations Social, Recreational Economic Cultural & Spiritual $34 billion / yr value Biological, Ecological $800 million/yr revenue Physical (protect coastal areas; food..)HCRI, NOAA – Economic Value of Hawaii’s Nearshore Reef;NOAA 2011 Survey 11
  • 12. USCRTF: “Severe overfishing for the aquarium trade exists even in the United States.” The aquarium trade: Significantly alters the ecosystem Takes essential algae & parasite eating fish Depletes wildlife Reduces biodiversity Damages and breaks coral Focuses on Hawaii’s most beautiful & unique species*What Do We Know About Coral Reefs, International Trade in Coral Reef Animals andthe Urgent Nee for Action?, U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. 12
  • 13. Aquarium trade a main cause ofcoral reef degradation.Major impacts on Hawaii Islandand Oahu. Other impacts include: Alien species Sedimentation Pollution Climate Change! Ocean acidification! 13
  • 14. Food web disruptionInterference with complex ecosystem Significantly alters densities/ratios High biodiversity key to stability Ecosystem services / Niche species Herbivores keep algae in check Cleaner wrasse removes parasites 14
  • 15. What happens to reefs that lose too many herbivores? 80% of fish collected are herbivores. “…[herbivore ] removal can result in algal overgrowth of coral and catastrophic shifts in the ecosystem.” -2007 U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Working Group 15
  • 16. Coral is broken and damaged when: Nets entangle it when set or retrieved Material is laid over it to block access to refuge Sticks are hit against it to herd fish into nets or out of hiding Equipment is set in it. Fins and legs kick it Anchors and chains land in it Collection vessel anchored in Kohala coast coral 2/15/11. Collector’s bucket and scooter in the coral 2/15/11.(DLNR, 1998; Stevenson, 2011) 16
  • 17. Coral is broken and damaged when: Collectors break it apart to get at hiding fish or attached invertebrates “Collection of attached reef invertebrates like Feather Duster Worms, often is done by breaking apart the reef structure”* Between 1967 – 2003, this animal was the second most collected marine species, after the Yellow Tang. *Clark, Athline M. and Gulko, Dave (1999). Hawaii’s State of the Reefs Report, 1998. Department of Land and Natural Resources, Honolulu, Hawaii 41 pp. 17
  • 18. Hermit crabs are essential to the ecosystem.They are detritus feeders and scavengerskeeping the ecosystem ‘clean’. Reported take in 2000: 46,9682001 – 2007 average annual reported take: Calcinus laurentae by John Hoover 245,000“[Collection] will doom the hermit crab population Average since 2007:in any given area.” – Dr. Ernie Reese, retired UH ZoologyProfessor 84,000 / yr“…the population could crash.” – John Hoover, author ofHawaii’s Sea Creatures 18
  • 19. Catch Report Graph 102,723 reef fish 118,331 creatures Catch Reports Never Verified w/ Actual Recent estimates: catch is underreported by half*. Zeller et al. 2005 19
  • 20. Hawaii Oahu: 103,000 fish 42 collectors GBR: 134,000 fish 34 collectorsGreat Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world; immensely larger and several times more diverse and abundant than Oahu’s reefs. Oahu reported aquarium trade is 75% of the Great Barrier Reefs. 20
  • 21. Endemism: the ecological state of being unique to a placeAt 23 percent, Hawaii’s reefs have the highest rate of endemism on Earth. 21
  • 22. 1. Potter’s Angelfish 2. Multiband Butterflyfish 3. Milletseed Butterflyfish 4. Hawaiian White-Spotted Toby 5. Psychedelic Wrasse 6. Saddle Wrasse 7. Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse 8. Blue-Striped Butterflyfish 9. Hawaiian Dascyllus“… there is no replacement pool for many of thetargeted species, should over collection or ahabitat shift occur, as a result of the marineornamental trade.”Hawaii Audubon Society. 2004. “The Marine Aquarium Trade in the Western Hemisphere and the Indo-pacific Region.” 32pp 22
  • 23. Goals: Protect current populations Establish further populations to reduce the risk of extinctionNative / endemic species threatened by the aquarium trade: 23
  • 24. Center for Biological Diversity just petitionedNOAA to list 8 fish species, including theendemic Hawaiian Damselfish Climate change impacts on their habitats. Ocean acidification impairs larval damselfish smell, vision, learning, behavior, and brain function. Hawaiian Damselfish are Leads to higher risk of mortality highly dependent on branching “Potentially catastrophic” long-term corals. future of coral reef- dependent fishes Hawaii’s branching corals are most susceptible to bleaching and sedimentation. 24
  • 25. Threats to ALL Native Species Extreme Selective Harvesting Juveniles in 1” – 4” range Mature Males w/Distinct color Can Lead to: Interrupted Food Chains Reproductive Failure Altered Habitat Fisheries use Minimum Size Limits, Allowable Catch / Bag Limits, Permit Limits These Standards are Absent from Hawaii Collection Rules*From Ocean to Aquarium – The Global Trade in Marine Ornamental Species, United Nations Environmental Program**The Marine Aquarium Trade in the Western Hemisphere and Indo-Pacific Region. Impacts on coral reef ecosystems and a summary of governinglegal instruments and policy options, Hawaii Audubon, Bogiatto, et al. 2004 25
  • 26. 2010 Z 403: 1,202 Z 402/412: 1,409 Z 401: 2,503Adapted from: The Commercial Marine Aquarium Fishery in Hawai‘i, 1976-2003William J. Walsh, Stephen S.P. Cotton, Jan Dierking and Ivor D. Williams 26
  • 27. AQ trade goal: sell the wildlife beforeit dies.Collectors get paid on live delivery.5% DOA industry shipping std.Add’l 5% DAA / D03 27
  • 28. Achilles Tang Psychedelic Wrasse Each buyer in the COC assumes the risk. NO “Arrive Alive” guarantee at online retail sites. Hawaiian Cleaner WrasseMultiband Butterflyfish Ornate Wrasse Fourspot Butterflyfish Moorish Idol Teardrop Butterflyfish Potter’s Angelfish Bluestripe Butterflyfish 27 28
  • 29. Up to 40% of Hawaii’s wildlife dies before reaching the hobbyist. The Average Hobbyist: Is a beginner who drops out within a year.* Causes astronomical death rates.** Likely kills off most of their fish in the first month of care from mistakes, inappropriate tankmates, starvation...*Hobby/trade authorities: *Bob Fenner and**Kieron Dodds 29
  • 30. On a reef: Waikiki Aquarium:Yellow Tangs can live for 40+ years Potter’s Angel: 14 years(Bushnell & Claisse, 2007) Sailfin Tang: 15 yearsBluespine unicornfish can achieve 58.(HI Div. of Aquatic Resources) Raccoon Butterflyfish: 22 yearsParrotfish: at least 33(Choat & Robertson 2002) (Randall and Delbeek, Sept. 2009, from a list of species that lived from 13 – 24 years at the Waikiki Aquarium.) Household Aquarium: Relatively few live more than a year in captivity.(Bob Fenner, author, Conscientious Marine Aquarist) 30
  • 31. Kona’s Ocean Rider captive-bred seahorses easily survive 100X longer in captivity than their wild-caught cousins, who die within weeks.Ocean Rider’s oldest seahorses, todate, are 13 years old, more thandouble the 5 year life span of theirspecies in the wild. 31
  • 32. Fins and spines are cut to avoid extra packing material costs.Swim bladders pierced for faster surfacing Handling removes protective mucous coating Fish starved for 2 – 10 days prior to shipment. With each shipment, DOA’s are standard: up to 5% can arrive dead without chargeback to shipper. Starvation, stress and death continues Another 4% will likely throughout the chain of custody. die within days of arrival 32
  • 33. State law generally prohibits harmfultrade practices.Maui County’s 2011 landmark lawexpressly prohibits collectors from: Piercing swim bladders Cutting fins/spines Withholding food for more than 24 hours for transport purposes Transporting in a manner resulting in injury or death. 33
  • 34. “…asking permission prior to fishing, taking only what you need, sharing your catch with your extended ‘ohana or community and having respect for the sacredness of the process.” *“…the livestock necessary to drive purchases of lucrative dry-goods.” **“If we were to stop the importation of all wild-caught supply, we wouldsuffocate ourselves with a less-interested audience. No audience, nomoney.“* *** Brian Tissot, Washington State University,Integral Marine Ecology: Community-Based Fishery Management in Hawaii, 2005** Bob Fenner, trade expert/author defending the high mortalities on his (2009) 34*** Pet Product News Editorial Blog: Sourcing from the Wild: Pro and Con, By Patrick Donston and David Lass (2102)
  • 35. Degradation Waste Harm …. If tanks were stocked with captive bred animals Over 60 species of reef fish are commercially bred for aquaria 100% of global demand can be met by captive production. 35
  • 36. Hawaii poll: vast majority support ending the trade: 66% statewide / 69% Big Island Top 3 concerns: Environmental Impact Disrespect of native Hawaiian values Cruel and inhumane treatment of reef wildlife 72% agree only captive-bred animals should be kept in saltwater aquariums (Big Island poll) 36
  • 37. Negative Impacts Ecosystem Socio-Economic Wildlife Employs Relatively Few Full Timers Management & Enforcement Costs Far Exceed Revenues from Fees and Taxes.State Resource Use Policy Resource protection is highest priority Commercial use should only be allowed if doesn’t impinge upon resource or use by general public. 31
  • 38. Trade’s environmental harm is well documented Environmental impacts never assessed, though required by HEPA 2010 DLNR Sought HEPA Exemption Population Assessment estimated at $200,000 & 7 mo. / species Equates to $52 million and 152 years in “man hours” for statewide population assessments of the ~260 species taken by the trade Population Assessment DOES NOT include ecosystem / environment assessment Earthjustice files lawsuit requiring state to comply with HEPA 32
  • 39. Daily Bag Limit Applies to just 8 of 260 species Far exceeds annual reported take Allow for limitless take because no cap on permit’sProhibit 3 Coral Eating Butterflyfish Spp. No Demand: 50 ornate butterflyfish and zero of the other two reported taken since 1999.Allow limitless take on all others, including: High Demand: Over 10,000 of these 3 coral eating butterflyfish reported taken since 1999. 39
  • 40. Daily Bag Limit -- Would Apply to an Unlimited Number of Collectors `76-`80 `01-`05 Proposed Limit annual annual X 20 collectors Species (Proposed Bag Limit) average average 2011 take X 156 days 1. Yellow Tang (100) 22,835 5,915 19,581 312,000 2. Kole (75) 1,755 6,188 14,723 234,000 3. Potter’s Angel (50) 7,824 6,099 11,977 156,000 4. Orangespine Unicorn (50) 5,579 3,317 3,716 156,000 5. Moorish Idol (25) 2,736 1,993 957 78,000 6. Achilles Tang (10) 1,255 677 396 31,200 7. Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse (6) 1,855 713 485 18,720 8. Bandit Angelfish > 5.5” (2) 1,380 70 493 6,240 Additional 200+ Species with Zero Limits 40
  • 41. Enforcement?Trade generates far less in taxes and fees than is required for program administration, effective resource management and enforcement Ending the trade saves $$ for state / taxpayersFederal Lacey Act is triggered when states protect wildlife Illegal to sell or purchase protected wildlife Federal FWS helps states with enforcement 41
  • 42. 2007 – 2009: statewide legislative efforts limiting take are blocked2010 – 2011: Maui County passes two landmark lawsFeb. 2011: statewide bill to end the trade statewide is introduced / blocked • Overwhelming community support • Call to end the trade continues to growJune 2011: 16 community leaders meet with the Gov. requesting a ban.Oct./Nov. 2011: Hawaii & Kauai County Councils Passes Resolutions to BanOngoing: Letter/postcard campaign…. 2,000+ 42
  • 43. Legal Suit filed by Earthjustice on behalf of citizens & conservation groups (CCH, HSUS, CBD). DLNR required to protect Hawaii reefs, conduct environmental assessments on AQ trade impacts to ecologically-valuable wildlife. 43
  • 44. Administrative New rules - BLNR decision-making expected soon (Jan. 25?... Feb?...) Twice monthly, Friday’s @ 9:00 AM Meetings at Kalanimoku Bldg., 1151 Punchbowl St. Seven day agenda notice! 44
  • 45. Legislative Leg. showing strong interest in 2013 Each bill can use testimony help up to 6 times, plus outreach! ‘Bad’ bills need attention too! 45
  • 46. 1) SPEAK WITH YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS. Tell them why you believe Hawaii’s reef wildlife is needed here! Humane Lobby Day Feb. 82) TESTIFY (in person, if possible!) at every opportunity Sign up for Action Alerts! Attend rallies!3) SPREAD THE WORD – many are unaware of the trade and it’s impacts. Submit LTE’s to local newspapers 46
  • 47. 4) Captive Bred Only: ask aquarium owners you know to stop buying wild caught animals: there are 60+ captive bred species available for purchase & no need to take wild ones!5) Donate to support our efforts! 47
  • 48. Together we CAN make a difference! Mahalo! 48