The aim of the Big Fish Campaign is to raise awareness about the problem of aquarium fish that grow larger than the vast majority of home aquaria can accommodate, and to promote responsible buying and selling of these larger species.
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About: Fish, Tanks and Ponds (aka - Andy Rapson)
I've been interested in fish for about fifty years and I have kept many different species in that time. I written many articles about fish keeping for several fish keeping publications and websites. I have worked in the fish trade running my own fish shop and I am a Fishbase collaborator. I'm mainly interested in fish husbandry, fish health, native marines and aquatic photography. More
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The Fishing Industry in Amazonia Barcelos, Brazil is the ornamental fish trading centre of the mid and upper Río Negro basin. Of the 5,000 freshwater fish species that live in South America, some 3,000 may be found in the Amazon basin. In the year 2000 it was estimated that at least 10,000 Amazonians participated in the fishery, including 1,000 fisher folk from the riverine communities of the mid-Río Negro, like Barcelos. The extraction of the ornamental fish of the river provides 80% of the income for the residents of Barcelos, representing an area over a thousand square miles. At least 20 million live fishes are exported from the region, representing more than $100 million in worldwide retail trade value (Chao 2001).
Research has shown that the extraction of the ornamental fish from the area is biologically sustainable and has no minimal negative impact on the land and waters of the region. In fact, because the wild-caught ornamental fish trade has minimal detrimental effect on the area, the industry of wild-caught ornamental fish can help to support local communities by offering a long-term, sustainable source of income that establishes environmental stewardship in the land. When there is an economic stake in the land there could be more personal investment in the maintenance and care of the land, as those that are generating an income from the area rely on the health of the land.
The wild harvesting of the cardinal tetra is the principal subsistence activity for the local riverine communities, representing at least 60% of the total income.
Therefore, it is not difficult to realize that the ornamental fish trade ties the livelihood of local fisher folk and the fate of Amazon ecosystem to those that seek the cardinal tetra,
the consumers and tropical fish hobbyists worldwide. In order to preserve the diversity of the floodplain fishes and the well-being of the fisher folk Project Piaba was initiated to explore these issues.
OATA's role in Conservation
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Marine fish are collected from the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean and some areas of the Atlantic – destined for either the local dinner plate or home aquariums in the western world. But the difference between what fish are worth to these two different industries is quite amazing. In the Maldives a kilo of live marine fish exported for sale to aquarists nets US$500. But if the same kilo of fish is sold locally to eat it would garner just $6. Likewise with live rock. If it’s destined for display its value is $2 to $4 but if it’s ground up for local construction, it’s worth just 2 cents. An example of how the ornamental fish industry offers the greatest value for fish harvested from coral reefs, making it sustainable income source. There are more species of fish alive today than species of amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds put together.
Saved from extinction
Red tailed black sharks are thought to be extinct or on the verge of extinction in the wild due to loss of habitat. This is another species saved by fish keepers. Without the ornamental fish trade this species will be lost forever.
Red-tailed black shark