Can aquaculture replace the wild-caught pet fish

Can aquaculture replace the wild-caught pet fish

Can aquaculture replace the wild-caught pet fish, While the BVA administration has expressed support for the ideas, the Fish Vet Society (FVS), a specialized component of the BVA, has expressed strong objection.

A paper given to the BVA council on April 20 featured a suggestion to support “a prohibition on the importation of all live wild-caught animals for non-conservation reasons, including fish,” which started the controversy.

If the prohibition is implemented, it will have the greatest impact on the marine aquarium trade, as more than 90% of the marine creatures used in both private and public aquariums are wild-caught, whereas freshwater fish are often captive-bred.

Those in favour of the ban claim that it will improve animal welfare while also encouraging the expansion of captive breeding programmes for the most popular marine species. They also point out that it would bring the legislation in line with those controlling other “non-traditional” companion animals for the pet trade, such as reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals.

Concerns about welfare

However, Dr. Matthijs Metselaar, senior vice-president of the FVS, opposes the ban, claiming that it lacks scientific support and that the alternatives presented by those in favour of the ban would have substantial negative consequences for habitats, socio-economic webs, and fish welfare.

“If you look at what happened in the seahorse trade after the UK trade bodies decided to only market captive-bred specimens, you’ll see that banning live capture doesn’t always have the desired impact.” “Now that all seahorses in aquaria have been captive-bred, wild seahorses are being caught, dried, and sold – in mass, at a low price – in China for human medicine,” explains Metselaar.

“Without wealth, there is no welfare,” he continues, emphasising the importance of well-cared-for creatures intended for aquariums in order to obtain a fair price. Can aquaculture replace the wild-caught pet fish

Aquarium Pet fish vs wild-caught pet fish

“To say that economics should not be regarded in welfare is both naive and narrow-minded: there is no welfare without economics,” he continues.

“The individual fish’s welfare is essential to us, and we believe that it is not considerably, if at all, jeopardised throughout the wild catch process.” “We should broaden our purview and look at this from a single health standpoint,” Metselaar argues, “and the wild-catch sector is part of a much larger web of positive societal effects.”

Metselaar points to a recent report by the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) that outlines the major socio-economic benefits that the present live-capture trade provides, particularly to distant coastal communities.

“It’s critical to acknowledge that wild capture contributes to local economies and delivers significant advantages to communities in the country of origin,” he says.

“Most wild-caught fish come from locations where, if it weren’t for the capture of these species, local livelihoods would shift from fishing to more environmentally harmful practises like forestry or commercial fishing,” he adds.

Concerns about aquaculture

FVS also points out that popular ornamental species breeding programmes have resulted in their own set of welfare difficulties.

“Several kinds of decorative marine fish, such as blue tangs and clownfish, have been reared in captivity and have been popularised by Hollywood movies. These breeding programmes are far from flawless, but Metselaar claims that “moving these animals from the wild can be done responsibly (and without welfare concerns) with no negative influence on the natural population.”

“The FVS supports breeding programmes, and members of the organisation are already working on welfare issues in these locations.” However, the current challenges do not justify this as a substitute for wild-caught fish,” says Metselaar. Can aquaculture replace the wild-caught pet fish

“Approximately 700 species are imported to the United Kingdom, with roughly 100 species accounting for the majority. You rapidly realise that optimising breeding programmes for those 100 species would be difficult. “It’s also improbable that the remaining 600 can be produced on a commercially successful basis, putting their welfare at risk due to breeders’

Fisheries with a low environmental impact

Metselaar also points out that the majority of marine animals obtained by aquariums are juveniles. And, because most marine species produce large numbers of juveniles due to their low wild survival rates, he claims that harvesting a small percentage of these will have little impact on wild stocks.

“Fish have a much higher number of offspring than most birds, mammals, and reptiles, which translates to a high mortality and predation rate.” “Taking a percentage of these individuals has no effect on the species’ overall population status,” he argues.

Inappropriate behaviour

Metselaar claims that the BVA hierarchy is neglecting research and making decisions based on preconceived notions as a result of these reasons.