A few days after Christmas, the anti-aquarium protestors were at it again. This time, their target was a Petco store located in Maui, Hawaii. The reason for the 30-person protest? For starters, the activists aren’t too happy with the selling of Hawaiian fish for the aquarium trade. This has been an underlying issue for most of the anti-aquarium activity for a while now, but the death of a single baby tang is what really set them off apparently. While we don’t doubt a tang died at the Petco store being protested, officials couldn’t confirm the claims. Regardless, the store has stepped up and said they will “…no longer carry some native Hawaiian species, specifically yellow tangs and yellow eye kole tangs”. The store officials also stated that they purchase aquacultured livestock whenever possible, but also rely on vendors who practice responsible and sustainable collection. To further give way to the protestors, the Petco store is already working on removing the native Hawaiian livestock from their store. Despite this, the protestors are planning a return visit.
While we like Petco as much as the protestors, they are still using the moral argument and misquoted to get their point across. For example, one protest group, For the Fishes, claims that 40% of Hawaiian yellow tangs die before they even make it to the customer. We all know that if this were true, wholesalers couldn’t stay in business long enough to sell anything. As for the moral argument, this isn’t even close to being a moral issue. Fishermen catch and kill fish on a regular basis, is that a moral issue? Is coastal development, a huge detriment to nearby reefs, a moral issue? Absolutely not, they are just big business that brings billions of dollars into the Hawaiian economy. Why should the aquarium trade be treated differently, especially since many aquarium keepers promote aquaculturing of corals and captive breeding of fish.
Story taken from Maui Now.