View site #952 > ScoreCard for survey #1 > Issue
Introduction | Identification | Impacts | Causes | Actions | More Info
|The Reef Check Survey covers several questions that may help identify whether aquarium fishing as a problem at your site. These questions include: the perceived level of aquarium fish collection, low abundance of butterfly fish, and low abundance of banded coral shrimp.|
The questions below will help to ensure that you have accurately identified the marine ornamental trade as an issue affecting local reefs.
Did you observe low levels of fish at your site? Low levels of fish can be a sign of overfishing in general and/or widespread habitat degradation. It is also important to find out why fish are being harvested and why degradation has occurred.
Did you observe low levels of Reef Check indicator species like butterfly fish and banded coral shrimp? Both butterfly fish and banded coral shrimp are targeted by the aquarium fish trade. However, only specific species of butterfly fish are caught for the marine ornamental trade. These include the golden butterfly fish and the copper band butterfly fish. Therefore low levels of these particular species may be an indication that aquarium fishing is occurring in your area. However, if levels of many or all reef fish are low, this may be an indication of overfishing or habitat degradation caused by land-based activities, boating impacts and nutrient pollution.
Are similar species of corals missing? The marine ornamental trade typically focuses their collection on specific species and sizes of corals. If you have observed a low abundance of certain species of coral, aquarium collecting may be an issue of concern.
Are there local business focused on the marine ornamental trade? The presence of local businesses that sell and export aquarium fish, invertebrates, and live coral are an indication that aquarium fishing is occurring at your site. In some places like Singapore and Hawaii, shipments of aquarium organisms pass through on their way to and from various locations.
Did you see broken coral?Broken coral can be an indication of several different issues affecting reefs including bomb and poison fishing. One of these issues could also be aquarium fishing. Branched coral is sometimes broken by aquarium fish collectors to retrieve fish that hide between the branches. Small hard corals and coral heads may also be overturned in an effort to catch hiding fish. A random, patchy distribution of this kind of damage could result from aquarium fish collection. Widespread coral rubble may be an indication of bomb fishing or storm damage.