The anti-aquarium trolls are out and about again, with their latest efforts coming in the form of a new resolution with the goal to once again attempt a ban on aquarium collecting in Hawaii. According to a recent Coral Magazine article by Ret Talbot, this new resolution (Resolution 130 11) will go up for discussion later today at at Hawaii County Council meeting and is being backed by anti-trade activists who frequently use moral arguments that are often presented with no cited data, but instead just random figures used to scare the public into supporting their proposed legislation. The activists claim that the aquarium trade is decimating wild populations of fish, specifically yellow tangs, and even try to make the argument that virtually all of these fish die in captivity within a year. Fortunately, real scientists and other environmentalists with legitimate and thoroughly cited data disagree with the anti-aquarium activists, and even some opponents of the aquarium trade have expressed opposition to this particular resolution. It should also be noted that every form of legislation against the aquarium trade in Hawaii have been rejected.
The big argument made by anti-aquarium activists is the steadily decreasing tang populations caused by aquarium collecting. However, scientific data fails to support this argument, and actually goes against it. According to the data presented in the Coral Magazine article, tang populations are actually on the rise since the marine aquarium fisheries are well regulated and sustainable in Hawaiian waters. Dr. William Walsh, an aquatic biologist with Hawaii’s Division of Aquatic Resources, explains “Over the past twelve years, the West Hawai’i population of Yellow Tang in the 30’-60’ prime reef habitat has increased by just over 337,000 fish. Similarly Kole Tang populations have increased by over 1,019,000 fish.” He also points out that both Kole and yellow tangs make up 91% of the total West Hawaiian aquarium catch. Despite this data, you could probably never convince anti-aquarium activists that the trade is not doing what they claim.
The original article on Coral Magazine’s website is a great read and we recommend that you read it. We doubt this new resolution will pass, as the data simply isn’t there to support tearing down the aquarium trade.
Big thanks to Jason Hurd for the heads up on this story.