Role Of The Aquarium Trade As An Alternative Vector For Non Indigenous Species

Role Of The Aquarium Trade As An Alternative Vector For Non Indigenous Species

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Conversely, the role of the aquarium trade as an alternative vector for the introduction of non-indigenous species is a recognised problem. In a report by Semmens et al. (2004), SCUBA sighting data from the year 1999 documented a total of 16 different non-native species around the coast of Florida. Most of these are native to the Indo-Pacific region and it was concluded that unknowing aquarium owners were to blame. While the ecological implications for these releases appear at the moment to be minimal, with the exception of the lionfish mentioned previously, it does highlight the potential for added introductions in the future. There is ample evidence supporting the influence of the direct release of non-indigenous species into areas hundreds of miles from their native habitat after purchase, however, there are also select issues found at the source. Pterapogon kauderni, commonly known as the Bangaii cardinal fish was originally endemic to its namesake around the island of Sulawesi (Vagelli and Erdmann 2002). However, with this species’ sudden rise in popularity among aquarists, the demand of supply rose quickly. As a result, the fish became a commodity within aquarium trade and the demand increased further. In order to support this, local communities in charge of the supply purposely re-located the species into a number of areas to raise yield. Consequently, in the Lembeh Strait in particular, P. kauderni have proliferated and as a result has become an invasive species ecological issue (Erdmann and Vagelli 2001).

The invasive potential of aquarium related tropical fish species is an issue that will probably be exacerbated by the human population rise, and consequently the number of aquariums in supply. It could be argued...


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...ion of coral reefs and consequent declines in biodiversity in tropical marine systems driven by anthropogenic means, will likely catalyse an elevated abundance of opportunistic, resilient species at a lower diversity across a gradually expanding spatial scale. Additionally, these proposed changes will further facilitate tropical species from relocating to habitats closer to the poles as sea surface temperatures rise. The author Bright (1998) provides an interesting thought, proposing that progress in our understanding and reaction to invasive species will not stem from distain of invasive species, but from the admiration of the integrity of the native systems. While the prospect of a marine world in which we are unable to determine invasive from non-invasive species is unlikely, we do predict however, that the word invasive may in part eventually lose all meaning.

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