Bleak Future for Saltwater Aquariums in India


The guys over at Reef Builders have uncovered something potentially scary for aquarium hobbyists living on the other side of the world. Apparently, the government of India has some documentation circulating on the web that casts a very negative light on the aquarium industry (to see the document click HERE). The 72-page document, drafted in June 2010, explains that the aquarium industry is responsible for coral reef damage and bringing many fish species to “near extinction”. The article focuses mostly on livestock health and seems to want to fix the issues that cause fish death and health issues. To achieve this, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) is imposing pages and pages of very specific rules, which include minimum tank sizes, water change requirements, light requirements, and even equipment requirements, among many other things.

Once you get through all of the regulations, a few appendices are listed. The first of which (Appendix A) dictates what fish are prohibited to keep or sell in the country. This list of banned species is five pages long and lists commonly held species like Premnas biaculeatus (maroon clownfish), Pterois volitans (Volitan lionfish, and seven other species of lionfish), and the Centropyge loriculus (flame angelfish) just to randomly name a few. There are a lot of very hard fish on this list, as well as a few that do deserve to be there. The list of banned fish is really massive and wide sweeping, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Continue reading to see how the document ironically rips off LiveAquaria, followed by a few of our thoughts.

Following a few of the appendices, I also found that the document has a pair of photocopies of the LiveAquaria fish compatibility lists (see page 55 and 56). Despite the use of that material and the irony that it is being used, there’s no mention of LiveAquaria anywhere in the document. The funny thing about the use of this chart is LiveAquaria is obviously an aquarium livestock dealer. They sell a significant amount of livestock found on the banned portion of the document.

With the recent uproar over the “Dark Hobby” article by Robert Wintner (aka Snorkel Bob), the state of Florida’s crackdown on the aquarium hobby, and the ForTheFishes website bashing the aquarium industry, this uncovered document just adds more concern to the future of this wonderful and conservation-minded hobby. It wouldn’t surprise me if more countries went the route of India and put severe limitations on the aquarium industry. Of course, only time will tell, but as I stated in prior articles, we as hobbyists must do something to fight this negative view of our hobby or we’ll no longer have a hobby to defend.


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