Situation in Vanuatu

Situation in Vanuatu

Postby Agathos » Sun May 30, 2010 12:52 pm

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Re: Situation in Vanatu

Postby spawner » Sun May 30, 2010 2:01 pm

Interesting film.
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Re: Situation in Vanuatu

Postby mpedersen » Mon May 31, 2010 12:22 am

#1 - Note date of film (2005) and posting (2007).
#2 - "misinformation" perhaps - at 5:45 - "Catching tropical fish is still much cheaper than the extremely difficult task of breeding them in tanks". I think that's perhaps an understatement since many simply have NEVER been bred...
#3 - SRS is the company being talked about, part of Segrest Farms....
#4 - Research Report on Vanuatu Declines - 50% in SRS collection areas - I'm not sure, but they flash on the screen a document with the title - "Marine Aquarium Trade Vanuatu Experience" by Kalo M. Pakoa apparently. Certainly could make for some interesting reading..
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Re: Situation in Vanuatu

Postby aomont » Mon May 31, 2010 1:39 am

mpedersen wrote:#4 - Research Report on Vanuatu Declines - 50% in SRS collection areas - I'm not sure, but they flash on the screen a document with the title - "Marine Aquarium Trade Vanuatu Experience" by Kalo M. Pakoa apparently. Certainly could make for some interesting reading..

I tried but could not find this one... Could find these though:
"The management challenges of Vanuatu’s developing marine aquarium fish trade" (2005) - http://www.spc.int/DigitalLibrary/Doc/F ... eeting.pdf
"Vanuatu National Marine Aquarium Trade Management Plan" (2009) - http://www.spc.int/DigitalLibrary/Doc/F ... t_Plan.pdf
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Re: Situation in Vanuatu

Postby BaboonScience » Mon May 31, 2010 1:55 am

I also must note that Segrest was in partnership with Sustainable Aquatics at MACNA last year. They are at least trying to provide an option to wild caught. Give them credit for that.

It seems that it is up to us to find the solutions. Reasonable practical methods to spawn and rear those species that are in demand. With the volumes of fish they were mentioning, we could all be comfortable profitable. Well, Maybe! LOL
John
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Re: Situation in Vanuatu

Postby spawner » Mon May 31, 2010 3:07 pm

Rearing fish in captivity does not always equal 'reef conservation'. It's a much more complex environment than that. What everyone should take from this situation and many others is that the fisherman generally are vastly under paid for their fish/resource. Rearing a species instead of properly managing a fishery surely doesn't equal reef conservation, and those that put up the banner of captive fish saving reefs are simply taking a simple minded approach to a very complex problem. If you do not provide sustainable uses for resources to developing communities they have no reason value that resource for the long term. The aquarium trade can provide a long term high value for a resource, but only if the fisherman and resource are properly valued. These activities can go hand and hand with tourism and other such activities.

I read the "Vanuatu National Marine Aquarium Trade Management Plan" last night and found it more comprehensive in some parts to anything I have seen from aquairum fisheries in the US. Now who knows if they are following everything in the plan but at least they have some standards in there that should be part of any fishery, import and export facilities alike. In general the total lack of standards for import/export facilities contributes to many problems that are both up and downstream of these facilities. Those wishing to cheapen products often cheapen the care of these products to the point of leaving them in bags stacked up in closets waiting to be place in a customers box.

The goal here should be a balance between wild and aquaculture products. Not the destruction of livelihoods in island countries. I have heard many boast of conserving resources by aquaculture aquarium fish, but no one to date has given any proof that this holds true.

How many ecosystems have been conserved because we can rear certain fish in captivity?

It seems that one can make the case that farms in the US and elsewhere can make a profit from rearing aquarium fish in captivity, but again I would like to see some proof that these operations conserve resources. Seems to me if your going to link aquaculture to conserving rain-forests or reefs someone should supply proof that this conservation is occurring because of captive production.

For the record, I was one of those that thought simply aquaculturing something = reef conservation. But again, educate yourself on this topic before taking such a view and you will quickly realize that much of this conservation via aquaculture is marketing or opinion from the uneducated.
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Re: Situation in Vanuatu

Postby BaboonScience » Mon May 31, 2010 3:22 pm

Andy
A point well taken. Sustainability and involvement of the community seems to be an issue in this presentation. It would be nice to see an update. A lot can happen in 4-5 years. It seems to me that the film suggested that the harvests on certain reefs were going to be increased, the workers were imported and that the benefits to many of the adjoining villages was negligible.
Perhaps someone with more recent knowledge could give an update.
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Re: Situation in Vanuatu

Postby spawner » Mon May 31, 2010 3:36 pm

John,

This is repeated in almost every aquarium fishery I have looked at. Another example. Christmas Island is the source of most flame angels. Because of a change in the type of aircraft coming and going to Christmas they are now packing something like 80 flames per box. Instead of selling flames for more per fish, they are cramming more flames per box and its a swamp meet for them at HNL. A even better example of a total lack of value for a resource is Royal Grammas sitting in boxes for days because they are too cheap to unpack. Now who is to say these are being too heavily fished, but they certainly are not valued correctly.
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Re: Situation in Vanuatu

Postby Thales » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:07 pm

Andy,

I think you hit it right - its the push for 'economy of scale' instead of what the animal is actually worth that makes the industry seem so weird in my opinion. Its a shame people all too often try to say a few bucks on an animal even though they have 10 grand in equipment.
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Re: Situation in Vanuatu

Postby spawner » Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:32 pm

The hard part is going to be getting a fix to this cycle. A solution other than tons of government regulations would be nice to see, but that has to come from the industry and I don't see that happening. Hope I'm wrong.
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Re: Situation in Vanuatu

Postby enigma » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:54 am

Being a buyer from Seagrest at the time of this video, I can say this. Seagrest started out to be a major competitor of ORA and wanted to be mostly captive bred (at least that's the way they sold me way back when) then as they realized the reality of their situation and needed to keep the bills paid, moved more and more over to wild collection as partnerships waned and the economy hit them. The reality is no one can compete when importers are paying the prices the do to collectors. As pointed out above, the issue is very complex in that even captive breeders have to start with WC and the processes associated with CB are not at all "Eco Friendly". The reality is we all pay too little for the livestock. No animal captured from a delicate environment, transported thousands of miles via polluting aircraft and subjected to as high as 60% mortality to be placed in a box makes sense except for the purpose of education. The prices simply must come up. The higher prices will make captive breeding more feasible and discourage the throw away nature of the casual aquarist. Restrictions, no matter how much we hate them must be made on importation and education of collectors and purveyors should be a must.

Now don't get me wrong, I do not support the proposed "knee jerk" legislation we are all agonizing over, but companies that show a dedication and monetary investment in proper ethical collection, transport, care and effort to researching captive breeding should be the ONLY exporters/importers in the industry. At least that's my opinion. Currently, anyone with a $75 business license and $5,000 can become an importer, buying from a collector who presumably is working in a country where a corrupt government will sell their greatest national resource to line the aristocracies pockets.

Truly a complex issue and while it may seem easy to frown upon Seagrest here, it is not just them, but an entire industry who must work toward an answer which benefits the animals and not a morbid desire to own them or make a profit from them. A critical rethinking must be made and our industry redefined before we can point fingers or alleviate ourselves of responsibility.
With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost. --William Lloyd Garrison--
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Re: Situation in Vanuatu

Postby Thales » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:17 am

enigma wrote:
Now don't get me wrong, I do not support the proposed "knee jerk" legislation we are all agonizing over, but companies that show a dedication and monetary investment in proper ethical collection, transport, care and effort to researching captive breeding should be the ONLY exporters/importers in the industry. At least that's my opinion. Currently, anyone with a $75 business license and $5,000 can become an importer, buying from a collector who presumably is working in a country where a corrupt government will sell their greatest national resource to line the aristocracies pockets.


Absolutely Mark. The issue I have run into is how do you know what companies show a dedication and investment in sustainable collection? There are many companies that talk a good game, but there is very little follow up to determine if they are walking the walk or greenwashing. In the recent past there have been several companies saying they are ethical and sustainable, but they slide away from that when the realities of business hit yet they continue to promote themselves as sustainable and ethical. There have also been companies that use green market speak but don't actually do anything green. A self funded group that reports on the actual status of collecting/export stations could go a long way in keeping people informed of the reality instead of having to rely on marketing. Pie in the sky I know, but it seems like one of the only ways to actually get real information.
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Re: Situation in Vanuatu

Postby enigma » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:17 pm

Agreed Rich. For an importer it is a tight line to walk. Profits and bill collectors scream much louder than the animals. I too think that our industry really needs to create a regulatory agency that does investigate and enforce these practices. MAC never really hit, even though it was a pretty good concept.

I have heard so many times how a collector uses better nets and refrains from chemical collection methods, only to get the specimens packed wrong or stolen from competitors reefs. Then shipped to an importer on 104th who pays unskilled labor to throw them into a tank with poor acclimation or quarantine.

The issue is huge. Yet again it is not. It really comes down to price first IMO. If the price is higher, the margins will enable the business to adhere to more costly standards enforced by an agency (Government or not) while making each unit/animal more valuable. The increased value increases care and thus survivability. You don't see people throwing lightning clowns around and shipping them in poor packing. The value drives up care. A wholesaler paying $.25 for a fish is not going to spend $10 acclimating and feeding it.

I think the first hurdle is changing the conception in most markets that the specialty aquarium hobby should be available to everyone at a low price. By devaluing nemo to $16.00 retail we devalue his life to that of a goldfish for a kids fishbowl. We further devalue the collector risking his life to catch him.

We just need organization, oversight and a new perspective.

Mark Vera - writing as a member of MOFIB
With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost. --William Lloyd Garrison--
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