Are Aquarists And Aquarium Fishing Actually "evil?"

CHAMELEON_BREEZE

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Every time I look at the news hearing that "aquarium fishing should be banned because it's environmentally un-friendly" (it actually is friendly) I always start feeling evil. I know that clownfish and coral beauties and a few other fish are captive bred now, but we still get a lot of out fish from the wild. We're just not using cyanide or dynamite like we did back in the 1980s. Yet, PETA and the Hawaiian Government are still complaining about aquarium fishing without looking at science, not even thinking about even worse threats to reefs like pollution or greenhouse gases. And aquariums can actually be good because it's educational and it could even save wild fish populations by breeding. It's not like we aquarists are actually the stereotypical misinformed, neglective, animal-hoarding stoners that everybody else thinks of us. Some home aquariums I've seen are as good as those in public aquariums.

Now here's the question. Are we actually "evil?" Could we change our image and actually show the activists that we actually care about our fish and not the neglective stereotypes?
 
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AustinS

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This doesn't quite answer your question, but this is something I've thought about. We preach about proper animal care, but we take animals out of their natural environment and stuff them in limiting boxes, and if we don't know what we're doing, maybe even kill them. Schooling/shoaling fish should be in the hundreds for a proper and natural life, not "a minimum of 6".

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm giving them a life free of disease and predation, they could be some other fish's lunch, or fall victim to parasites. Not sure if the trade is worth it, but this is something I've thought about only after getting into the hobby.

Of course, some fish have avoided extinction through the hobby, which is great. Others have become invasive species through the hobby as well.
 

ryanr

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I don't think we're evil, but we do have an obligation to enjoy our hobby responsibly, that is, buying aqua-cultured wherever possible.
The reefs of the world are in enough trouble, and we should be doing everything we can to sustain these wonders of the world.
I think in Hawaii, from what I read, the major concern is yellow tangs, that are over-caught, and the sustainability of the wild population is at threat.
This is a more general topic than just fish-keeping. Humans are honestly horrible when it comes to preserving nature, whether it's introducing species to environments or taking wildlife from natural habitats.
- Burmese pythons in Florida
- Irresponsible disposal of domesticated fish into natural waterways
- Irresponsible hunting practices causing the near extinction of many species

When it comes to protecting wildlife, I'm with PETA and other organisations. Here in Aus, we have strict regulations about the harvesting of wildlife from the Great Barrier Reef to try and protect the reef.

So, I'm not saying we're evil, but we do need to be responsible about the ways we do things, and ensure sustainability of natural wildlife.
 

Jesterrace

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I think the posts above say it best. Not evil but we do need to be responsible with it. As for the government of Hawaii and it's claims they are such hypocrites as there are plenty of examples of things that are far more harmful to the environment there than aquarium fishing. No one says jack about them slaughtering the fish in droves for food, no one is thumping their chests about the tons of trash that are left on the beaches by lazy and irresponsible people. No one is batting an eye over the massive number of people who lather up with sunscreen and enter the waters and consequently leech those chemicals into the water. There are a bunch of other examples that I am sure I have missed but the point is that there is no one that can convince me that the 150-200 legal outfits that have permits and supply us with aquarium fish are somehow evil but everything else I listed somehow is okay. I saw another post on another forum a week ago where they were showing a basket full of dead Tangs (not Yellows) that were fished for off of Hawaii for food. At least we make an effort for them to live in a predator free environment where regular feedings are guaranteed. I agree that stricter guidelines on collection methods should be used but to simply point to it as the source of their environmental woes while conveniently ignoring far more significant factors simply because they generally generate tourist dollars stinks of hypocrisy of the worst kind.

Sorry to rant but this one is a bit of a sore subject for me.
 

jaderivf

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i have to agree with everyone. the hobby needs to be done responsibly. same goes for keeping dogs, cats, guinea pigs, horses, chickens, snakes, turtles, pigs, birds, and so on. there are evil people all over the world; in fact, most of us are in one way or another. keeping fish, or dogs, or cats, doesn't make someone more or less evil. the way we keep them can. there are people that put bettas in cups to fight to the death, and people that laugh about neon tetras flashing bright in fear of being eaten by two oscars in a five gallon tank (i'm not kidding; it's on youtube). people are generally cruel if they don't know God. i've seen hobbiests keep a group of three male bettas and about a million guppies in a 150 gallon tank and they were all thriving. no fighting, no nipped fins, nothing, because they were given what they needed; clean water, space, territory. i've seen people keep three goldfish, two koi, and two bala sharks in a two gallon tank, if that (again, it's on youtube), but i've also seen people keep three perfectly healthy, giant fancy goldfish in a planted 75 gallon with driftwood, and natural gravel. some people do the hobby, and the animals, justice, and others are the ones to sterotype us. as long as we do what is right for our animals, it isn't for anyone else to judge us about it. i personally wouldn't keep fancy goldfish, flowerhorns, parrot cichlids, bettas with massive fins, or any balloon-type variation of fish because i think it's cruel to inbreed or forcefully breed bigger, better, faster for show. i would rescue any one of them, but i wouldn't promote their being manufactured by purchasing them from a store. just do your best in our hobby. i, too, am very passionate about treating animals well, because we are their stewards, whether or not they're in our homes with us.
 

david1978

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You get it with every industry. The tree huggers against logging. The clean air people against coal. Peta against just about everything. None of these are based on rashanal thinking and science. Yes we have to be responsible with the resources available to us but when its properly managed its not evil. I think we actually have way more over site then what we need.
 

Jesterrace

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i have to agree with everyone. the hobby needs to be done responsibly. same goes for keeping dogs, cats, guinea pigs, horses, chickens, snakes, turtles, pigs, birds, and so on. there are evil people all over the world; in fact, most of us are in one way or another. keeping fish, or dogs, or cats, doesn't make someone more or less evil. the way we keep them can. there are people that put bettas in cups to fight to the death, and people that laugh about neon tetras flashing bright in fear of being eaten by two oscars in a five gallon tank (i'm not kidding; it's on youtube). people are generally cruel if they don't know God. i've seen hobbiests keep a group of three male bettas and about a million guppies in a 150 gallon tank and they were all thriving. no fighting, no nipped fins, nothing, because they were given what they needed; clean water, space, territory. i've seen people keep three goldfish, two koi, and two bala sharks in a two gallon tank, if that (again, it's on youtube), but i've also seen people keep three perfectly healthy, giant fancy goldfish in a planted 75 gallon with driftwood, and natural gravel. some people do the hobby, and the animals, justice, and others are the ones to sterotype us. as long as we do what is right for our animals, it isn't for anyone else to judge us about it. i personally wouldn't keep fancy goldfish, flowerhorns, parrot cichlids, bettas with massive fins, or any balloon-type variation of fish because i think it's cruel to inbreed or forcefully breed bigger, better, faster for show. i would rescue any one of them, but i wouldn't promote their being manufactured by purchasing them from a store. just do your best in our hobby. i, too, am very passionate about treating animals well, because we are their stewards, whether or not they're in our homes with us.
No kidding. Saw some idiots on a fish keeping facebook group who were telling people there was nothing wrong with putting Tangs in 22-40 gallon tanks and that those of us who were recommending 180 gallon or larger tanks didn't know what we were talking about and bragging about their successes with them in smaller tanks. When pressed further these idiots finally owned up to the fact that they bought the fish small and kept them for a year at most and then tossed them back to the LFS to be rehomed. They didn't bother mentioning this from the get go, they just claimed it was no big deal to get a Tang and stick it in a 22-40 gallon tank. I guess it's just me but if I were a newbie to the hobby I might want to know upfront that a given fish being recommended for my tank was going to outgrow my tank and have to take it's chances with being rehomed. Even better was the fact that the 22 gallon was a hex tank with virtually no horizontal swimming room for the Tang.
 
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86 ssinit

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Not a salt water keeper but you have to admit there’s a ton of other things going on on this planet that are destroying our reefs. May be a time in our future where reefs are only in tanks. Not a peta fan. There more into the publicity than the problem.
 

SFGiantsGuy

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See the film "Blackfish". Now THAT is evil.

Blackfish is super sad and evil. And very corrupt and twisted. A good documentary, but it WILL make you really angry at people. Guaranteed.
 
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