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Plague Of Starfish

Lynden

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To be fair though with all the population explosions of Acanthaster starfish happening lately, I think the world could do without a few corallivorous starfish specimens. ;)

And to single out Harlequin shrimp keepers as "detrimental" to the ecosystem is unfair as well. The marine hobby as a whole actually helps the ecosystem, not in itself, but by providing an income to people who would otherwise turn to dynamite and cyanide to catch food fish. Furthermore, captive breeding of marine life is not without it's ecological caveats.
 

Musho3210

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Ah i see, removing the harlequin shrimps increase starfish population, so we should remove the crown of thorns starfish as well, then remove the stuff that overpopulates when the starfish are removed, then remove whatever starts to overpopulate them, makes perfect sense if it wasn't so... not workable....

[URL="http://books.google.com/books?id=5kHPPu353...4&ct=result"]http://books.google.com/books?id=5kHPPu353...4&ct=result[/URL]

A main predator of the crown of thorns starfish is the harlequin shrimp, removing the shrimp from the eco-system would in turn lower their numbers, a lower harlequin shrimp number, the higher the starfish numbers can get, ever thought of leaving the shrimp in the ocean to lower the starfish population, rather than taking both out?

I never said the hobby was detrimental to the eco-system either, its the removing of harlequin shrimp that can harm the eco-system, as well as removal of other things.

Lastly, i dont see why you would cyanide a fish you were trying to kill to eat? Correct me if im wrong, but theyd be killing the fish in other ways, and they wouldnt be after little clownfish or tangs, theyd be going for the big stuff to eat, and thats a lot of cyanide...

Look how well the reef near where Ivy Mike detonated is doing, the radiation keeps human civilization out of the area, and that seems to have the reef doing pretty well, and look at kingsman reef, the lack of human intervention leaves the eco-system thriving. Its not as easy as removing corallivorous starfish to "fix" the starfish problem.
 

Lynden

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Well... maybe if the ocean was only a few miles in diameter and had only a few dozen of each species. The removal of a few shrimp, or even a hundred shrimp, won't affect the burgeoning Acanthaster population much (see below). My first paragraph wasn't exactly to be taken literally, either.

Furthermore, full grown Acanthaster are often much too large to be taken on by a few little shrimp. Their certainly has been recorded instances when the shrimp team up, but the starfish's principle predator is the Triton Trumpet, and also the humphead wrasse Cheilinus undulatus, if I remember correctly.

A similar point would appear to be the core of the argument used against anemone keepers as well. However, their removal, regardless of the immediate consequences, has created a "gene bank" in our aquaria. The ocean could literally boil off, and those anemone species that would have gone extinct would be safe in our tanks; though I always and strongly advocate proper research into proper housing for the anemone, and advise people to leave the more difficult species for when they are reasonably certain they can keep them alive.

My point being, sometimes the removal is justified. You yourself have spoke of captive breeding harlequin shrimp. They won't ever be bred if we don't try for fear of unleashing killer starfish on wild reefs. ;)

I'm all for protecting the ecosystem, but by your logic we might as well give up the whole of reefkeeping entirely; the collection of any species results in some loss, and all have an important ecological niche. There are plenty of people who don't see the beneficial aspect ("financial distraction") and would rejoice at the sight of our hobby being ceased.

P.S.
Apparently my "solution" is in fact highly workable, and in fact is being implemented as we speak. <a href="http://www.wwf.org.ph/newsfacts.php?pg=det&id=85" target="_blank">http://www.wwf.org.ph/newsfacts.php?pg=det&id=85</a>

P.P.S.
The fishermen dive into the sea usually without artificial breathing aids, although some use illegal and highly-dangerous apparatus whereby compressed air is sent down thin breathing tubes. When they reach the coral reefs, they spray the poison between the individual layers, after which the yield is collected. Edible fish, of which a number are sold for general consumption, are first placed for ten to fourteen days in fresh water for "rinsing".
[URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanide_fishing"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanide_fishing[/URL]

Furthermore;
[URL="http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/f...fm?uNewsID=5563"]http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/f...fm?uNewsID=5563[/URL]
 

Musho3210

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Ok, i was wrong about the cyanide fishing, apparently they do eat cyanide posined fish.

I do think the hobby should stop unless your main intention is to breed/propagate fish or corals, i for one advocate pairing ALL fish that go in your aquarium, and trying to breed them or take not of their behavior to spread info with other fish breeders, its what i plan to do on my 65 gallon, i've crossed off a mandarin off my list for that very reason. So in a general sense, yes i am against the hobby in a certain way. I am more lenient on this on sustainable creatures, such as damsels or chromis, certain tangs, certain wrasses etc. but when you get to the more threatened or "important" species such as anemones and harlequin shrimp, i am against them in all cases, unless they are put in a tank with proper conditions for uptop survival and in pairs for breeding. Notice i am against a small majority, you are exaggerating everything when you say i think the WHOLE reefkeeping hobby should end.

And in the end, your solution is not working, there is no proof that manually removing predators from the wild will help anything, its like taking sharks and large predators off the reef, people used to think that was good for the environment, as well as a good source of food. Lo-and behold bacterial levels rose as smaller prey species started to reproduce, skyrocketing bacterial levels which for some strange reason, stopped/slowed the growth of certain corals. Now if we had let the smaller fish prey die by larger predators, the eco-system would remain stable. Read the one of the reef articles in one of the national geographic magazine, i think it was the kingsman reef or something, i'll try and find my copy somewhere. Human intervention, no matter how intentioned (good or bad) has a knack for causing something worse. I wouldnt be surprised to see in the near future another article condemning the removal of crown of thorns starfish for whatever reason. Sure "your" solution is doable, but does it work? I guess we'll find out soon.

And as a final note, if we cared enough for the environment, we would be helping those third world countries that would do illegal forms of fishing to support their family, why not have some aquaculturing sites promoting jobs for them, i doubt they care what they do as long as they make money to feed their family, its not like they HAVE to fish using dynamite and cyanide like you say? But that would mean money out of our pocket and thats a big no no. Sorry, i forgot.

And lastly, i would very much appreciate it if you would stop "generalizing" me and my ideals, when you are undoubtably wrong, in case you werent sure, i think i know more about myself than you do :).
 

Lynden

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I do think the hobby should stop unless your main intention is to breed/propagate fish or corals, i for one advocate pairing ALL fish that go in your aquarium
>90% of fish we keep are difficult or impossible to successfully spawn/raise. This is a highly unreasonable preposition you have here ("not workable" to the max). If we were to switch to nothing but captive spawned fish, the hobby would be impoverished, and out would come the dynamite, cyanide or chainsaws (for the forests) in Indonesia, the Phillipines, etc. to replace the lost income. Fish collecting can be a big business there; and I'm sure no one would argue against the fact that some fish removed is better than a rainforest acre cut or a whole coral head blown to smithereens.

So in a general sense, yes i am against the hobby in a certain way. I am more lenient on this on sustainable creatures, such as damsels or chromis, certain tangs, certain wrasses etc. but when you get to the more threatened or "important" species such as anemones and harlequin shrimp, i am against them in all cases, unless they are put in a tank with proper conditions for uptop survival and in pairs for breeding.
Some people's interests do run beyond the "bread and butter" fish and to single them out as "ecologically damaging" is simply not fair. Furthermore, what exactly constitutes a "threatened" or "important" species? Tangs, for instance, eat massive amounts of algae that would otherwise smother a reef, and their spawning is no more prolific than, say, that of large angels.

For another perspective, you do have a Sarcophyton elegans don't you? These animals ship poorly, have a relatively low survival rate and are difficult to frag (many frags, or even mother colonies, do not survive the process). Are you excused from your own "rule"? Or perhaps are you trying to establish them as a widely captive bred species? The specimen had to be collected at some point, and arguing against their collection, or those endeavouring to keep them, will ensure that this does not happen.

Further, the marine hobby is more closely regulated than you seem to think, and if a species becomes threatened legal trade in wild caught specimens ceases.

Notice i am against a small majority, you are exaggerating everything when you say i think the WHOLE reefkeeping hobby should end.
I never accused you of this. I merely inferred that by your logic it should be ended as a whole.

And in the end, your solution is not working, there is no proof that manually removing predators from the wild will help anything, its like taking sharks and large predators off the reef, people used to think that was good for the environment, as well as a good source of food. Lo-and behold bacterial levels rose as smaller prey species started to reproduce, skyrocketing bacterial levels which for some strange reason, stopped/slowed the growth of certain corals. Now if we had let the smaller fish prey die by larger predators, the eco-system would remain stable. Read the one of the reef articles in one of the national geographic magazine, i think it was the kingsman reef or something, i'll try and find my copy somewhere.
You are comparing apples to oranges. I personally do not totally support the removal of Acanthaster planci from reefs and am among those who consider them to be a sort of "forest fire" event, albeit helped along by anthropogenic eutrophication and removal of triton trumpets from reefs.

I actually did read that article a few months ago, by the way.

Human intervention, no matter how intentioned (good or bad) has a knack for causing something worse. I wouldnt be surprised to see in the near future another article condemning the removal of crown of thorns starfish for whatever reason. Sure "your" solution is doable, but does it work? I guess we'll find out soon.
Perhaps, though you must surely concede that manual removal of the stars, if their population is booming, can't hurt.

And as a final note, if we cared enough for the environment, we would be helping those third world countries that would do illegal forms of fishing to support their family, why not have some aquaculturing sites promoting jobs for them
There are some already set up. Most have proven financially unsustainable and have closed.

i doubt they care what they do as long as they make money to feed their family, its not like they HAVE to fish using dynamite and cyanide like you say? But that would mean money out of our pocket and thats a big no no. Sorry, i forgot.
The principle sources of income and food for archipelago people seems to be the destruction of a biodiversity hot-spot. They don't have to use dynamite or cyanide, but unfortunately most other fishing methods are as bad or worse ecologically, and the others do not generate enough income. People need to eat and people need to make money, regardless of how much comparatively rich Westerners want to preserve the environment.

And lastly, i would very much appreciate it if you would stop "generalizing" me and my ideals, when you are undoubtably wrong, in case you werent sure, i think i know more about myself than you do :) .
?

I criticize you for attempting to force your ideology on others without feeding in enough real world data. I don't claim to know anything about you beyond what you post on this forum. We butted-heads in the "tang-police" issue for the exact same reason; overinflated opinion and only partially founded ideology does not constitute advice.
 

amstar15

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I am more lenient on this on sustainable creatures, such as damsels or chromis, certain tangs, certain wrasses etc.

if that is your logic....

why cant I find starfish that are one of the more "sustainable creatures" to feed to my harlequin shrimps.

Go blow your smoke up someone elses :X
 

Musho3210

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>90% of fish we keep are difficult or impossible to successfully spawn/raise. This is a highly unreasonable preposition you have here ("not workable" to the max). If we were to switch to nothing but captive spawned fish, the hobby would be impoverished, and out would come the dynamite, cyanide or chainsaws (for the forests) in Indonesia, the Phillipines, etc. to replace the lost income. Fish collecting can be a big business there; and I'm sure no one would argue against the fact that some fish removed is better than a rainforest acre cut or a whole coral head blown to smithereens.

First off, i never said you HAD to breed them, and aside from the fact that it is not impossible to breed anything in captivity, maybe they havent been bred yet, that doesnt mean it will never happen. Next off, if it is to happen, it takes a whole community of people to work together for that goal, it requires pairing first of all, some fish are hard to pair, if you've paired them, you document it, you try your best to sex them, and you give advice to others, hopefully your advice helps others pair that species. Next off, breeding, if you observe your pair release eggs, you document it, you test your water, you check out your lighting schedule etc. hopefully, your data helps others replicate your system and maybe their fish releases eggs. Now raising, you document blah blah blah. It is a step by step process, and it is workable, im sure 10 years ago we would have thought it would be impossible to breed mandarins, now look, there have been documented cases of fry being raised. Check out MOFIB, it is another forum with a community of breeders that share that ideology of sharing information to unlock the next step of breeding and raising.


For another perspective, you do have a Sarcophyton elegans don't you? These animals ship poorly, have a relatively low survival rate and are difficult to frag (many frags, or even mother colonies, do not survive the process). Are you excused from your own "rule"? Or perhaps are you trying to establish them as a widely captive bred species? The specimen had to be collected at some point, and arguing against their collection, or those endeavouring to keep them, will ensure that this does not happen.


You've forgotten about the fact of when my ideals came to me, i bought the yellow fiji when i did not know about them, it was a mistaken buy, i thought i was buying any regular leather that was fragged (i got it at a frag swap). Unfortunately i was incorrect of this matter. Add to the fact that i did not necissarily have my harsh ideals on sustaining reefs back then as i do now. Its been a year, things change.


Further, the marine hobby is more closely regulated than you seem to think, and if a species becomes threatened legal trade in wild caught specimens ceases.


Bangaiis dont seem to be the case. There is a difference between having a regular amount, and have a less amount but not threatened with extinction. An animal does not need to be threatened with extinction to have low numbers. I dont believe foxes are endangered, well at least most foxes arent endangered but farmers seem to be shooting them, raising wild bird levels, if i remember correctly, this is the case in some parts of Canada.


Perhaps, though you must surely concede that manual removal of the stars, if their population is booming, can't hurt.


Nope, nature has its way of balancing itself out, sure the starfish may kill millions of corals, but they will starve themselves out, or if in a long enough time, a number of the corals will "evolve" (i believe in evolution) and create a natural defense against these starfish. So, i dont concede.


The principle sources of income and food for archipelago people seems to be the destruction of a biodiversity hot-spot. They don't have to use dynamite or cyanide, but unfortunately most other fishing methods are as bad or worse ecologically, and the others do not generate enough income. People need to eat and people need to make money, regardless of how much comparatively rich Westerners want to preserve the environment.


You've split off one of my topics into two separate topics for you to come to a second conclusion. My example of setting up aquaculture spots in those areas was an example of us placing new jobs in those areas, therefore prividing a source of income for the local people. It will earn them money, helping not only the local economy, but making it not as imperative to use destructive methods to feed their family. Sure some would still need to fish to feed the rest, but with less competition and the fact that those destructive fishing methods kill more than gets caught, there should be enough to go around without the need for destructive methods.

I am more lenient on this on sustainable creatures, such as damsels or chromis, certain tangs, certain wrasses etc.

if that is your logic....

why cant I find starfish that are one of the more "sustainable creatures" to feed to my harlequin shrimps.


There's a difference between keeping creatures alive for them to bred or to be observed for breeding, than constantly killing/ feeding. I've only bought 2 clownfish in a whole year, you'd be talking about buying 50+ starfish a year.




Go blow your smoke up someone elses nugget.gif



Sorry, i dont smoke.
 

Lynden

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It is a step by step process, and it is workable, im sure 10 years ago we would have thought it would be impossible to breed mandarins, now look, there have been documented cases of fry being raised. Check out MOFIB, it is another forum with a community of breeders that share that ideology of sharing information to unlock the next step of breeding and raising.
Unfortunately that can only go so far. Many (most) marine fish have a larval stage lasting for months. Raising them would require a huge tank (thousands of gallons) that could simulate pelagic environments and constant food; it isn't that we don't know how to breed them. It's that it's impossible for us to raise the fry, and the scale of equipment needed is unattainable.

You've forgotten about the fact of when my ideals came to me, i bought the yellow fiji when i did not know about them, it was a mistaken buy, i thought i was buying any regular leather that was fragged (i got it at a frag swap). Unfortunately i was incorrect of this matter. Add to the fact that i did not necissarily have my harsh ideals on sustaining reefs back then as i do now. Its been a year, things change.
That wasn't the point.

Bangaiis dont seem to be the case. There is a difference between having a regular amount, and have a less amount but not threatened with extinction. An animal does not need to be threatened with extinction to have low numbers.
There are seven levels of threat as recognized by the IUCN. Least concern, near threatened, vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild, and extinct. The grouping criteria is rather complex, as numbers that constitute "endangered" for one species might be "least concern" for another.

Pterapogon kauderni
is an endangered species, but they are an exceptional case.
<a href="http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/...m.php?news=1297" target="_blank">http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/...m.php?news=1297</a>

Nope, nature has its way of balancing itself out, sure the starfish may kill millions of corals, but they will starve themselves out, or if in a long enough time, a number of the corals will "evolve" (i believe in evolution) and create a natural defense against these starfish. So, i dont concede.
You believe in evolution but clearly don't understand it. Corals do have a few defenses against the stars, an interesting one being that acropora crabs seem to prevent their host corals from being eaten.

However, to expect the corals to "evolve" a defense against the starfish, which number in the millions and are a real threat to some reefs, in such a short time span is ridiculous (one might as well give up rhino conservation in hopes that rhinos will evolve metal skin to resist poaching). These two groups of animals have occurred together for millions of years, and the balance is held in check by the ecosystem. Now that has been disturbed, and the starfish have gained the edge. Sure, the balance could be restored if we stopped all activities that affect that ecosystem... but only after, like you say, the reefs are destroyed to such an extent that the stars run out of food.

Similarly, reptilian dinosaurs did not "evolve" a defense against the meteor that probably wiped them out; their ecosystem was destroyed. Nature did restore the balance, like it always will; but only after an intense restructuring.

Furthermore, there are plenty of cases in which species have been introduced into foreign habitats and end up wreaking havoc. Provided the species is easy to kill, selective eradiction happens to be a extremely effective strategy for "restoring the balance" and has been practiced dozens of times (goats on islands, nile perch in Lake Victoria, etc.). Nature could do it, sure... but that would mean the destruction of the current ecosystem in favour of a newer, and usually blander, one. It would lose what had made it unique.

One more point on this matter; humans taking starfish from areas where their population is booming can't hurt, and will probably help, because the population is probably booming in the first place because the starfish's predators have been displaced.

You mention Canadian ecology, and I happen to have an interesting case study pertaining to that. Near where I live, predators have been displaced, and the populations of various deer species have heightened as a result, and hunting regulations loosened as a result, so that the populations would be balanced. I happen to dislike hunting, but even I could see the value in humans merely replacing natural predators until they can recover. This is a very similar situation to the Acanthaster boom.
It will earn them money, helping not only the local economy, but making it not as imperative to use destructive methods to feed their family. Sure some would still need to fish to feed the rest, but with less competition and the fact that those destructive fishing methods kill more than gets caught, there should be enough to go around without the need for destructive methods.
The current set-up of sustainable ornamental fish collection is doing the same. Like I said before, aquaculture facilities are usually not financially sustainable, so are a non-option in impoverished areas.

CFC sums up a similar point quite nicely in this thread, though I can't be sure that his outlook hasn't changed (mine certainly has):
Anyway the short of it is if you feel disheartened by the fish keeping hobby then sell your tanks and fish and take up stamp collecting or knitting, just dont make posts which help towards getting the hobby that most of love abolished.
A very small percentage of the fish available are actually farm bred, the wild fish trade is massive and supports whole villages in tropical South America, Africa and Asia.
The most common fish like bronze and peppered corys, bala sharks, tiger barbs and neons are indeed captive bred, as are many Cichlid species but please dont kid yourself that captive bred species are the norm because they really arent, if you cant stand the thought of fish being taken from the wild then give up the hobby now because its not going away and there will always be wild fish for sale.
Mass scale breeding takes up a lot of room so it just isnt possible to breed every species, some fish are also just not financialy viable for captive breeding as they are pleantiful in the wild so its not worth dedicating the space to breed them and spending the money on feed to raise fry to a selling size when you can simply net a few thousand out of the river.
Farms concentrate on breeding the "bread and butter" staple fish that every fish store in the world stocks or the high price tag fish like Discus and Asian arowana's.
 

amstar15

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I was just trying to say that everything needs to eat to survive. If you eat beef, pork, chicken or fish in many cases those were bought, raised for the purpose of food.

So what is the difference if I "purchase" starfish to feed another animal? Does that animal not need to eat? Just like you purchase beef, chicken, pork, fish to eat. How many chickens had to die for your to get your food, how many fish had to die to get your fish and chips. What does it matter if the shrimp eats the starfish in my tank or in the ocean? In many cases my tank would offer a safer environment to live.



PS I dont even own a harlequin shrimp :hyper:
 

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