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Are aquariums always a bad thing ?


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#21 james

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 07:22 AM

Paul,

I agree.

I'm not saying either is good - but it's something to consider.

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#22 Rocha

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 09:31 AM

This is off the public aquarium topic, but look at it this way:

Live grouper and napolean wrasse for the food fish trade: $1 per pound

Live reef fish for the aquarium trade: $40 per pound

The fishermen need to work - which would rather have them catching...

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That's the other problem James, the actual fishermen never make that much, unless it is a super-rare species. What they make is much closer to $1 per pound. The middle man (exporter) is the one that takes all the profit. Also, live grouper and (especially) napoleon wrasse go for a lot more than $1 per pound in Hong Kong, I was just there last week...

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#23 KarstenMoran

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 03:28 PM

"Aquarium industry" (read: personal fish tanks) aside, a well run public aquarium, such as the Scripps, Monetery and Chatanooga in the States are important, not only in the educational services they provide to the public, but also in their roles as research centers. It's what's behind the scenes (and often far away from the actual public aquarium itself) that I'd give the above mentioned aquariums 'kudo's' for. Scripps and Montery (and other aquariums like them) play an essential part in understanding, tracking, and treating symptoms of environmental degradation - in gaining an understanding of reef and pelagic fishes; how they reproduce and feed, and interact with other fish and their environment.

#24 solenostomus

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 01:42 AM

If public aquariums stop people from setting up their own private seawater aquariums, they are a good thing.
If they encourage people to go out and buy their own NEMO to take home, then they are a bad thing.

Just my 2c

#25 terradale

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 12:33 PM

(Ops, I posted on the entry page and didn't realize this thread was discussing the subject.)

Although I don’s have strong opinions about aquariums in general. (Albeit, I read some entries in here today that give me pause.) I do have a major problem with the Atlanta Aquarium and the whale sharks they house. Responsible research of these beautiful massive fish should be conducted by aquariums that are not land-locked, such as the case with Atlanta. In addition, the dimensions of the the "World's Largest Aquarium" (Atl Aquarium) is 263 feet long x 126 feet wide x 33 feet deep (at it's deepest!!).

If Ralph (RIP), Norton, Alice and Trixie were housed at the Monterey Aquarium and showed adverse signs of being confined, they could easily be released into the expansive ocean whence they came from and have a fighting chance of recuperation and survival.

I also read in the Atlanta Journal Constitition that many visitors thought that Ralph was lucky because they acquired him from a "sushi farm" in Indonesia and he would of been killed sooner or later. Baahumbug! If they were responsible research scientist and had conservation on their mind, they would have made arrangements to have all the whale sharks sent to an aquarium with sea access. IMHO, Ralph was sacrificed for profit (either way you look at it). As of late January 2007, I heard that Norton wasn't eating well either.

#26 danielandrewclem

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 02:03 PM

Whether aquariums are good or bad depends largely on how aggressive and savvy they are at educating rather than just entertaining. It's not that hard for a paying visitor to breeze through an aquarium without reading a single placard or hearing a single word of the educational/interpretive staff (i.e. learning anything at all), all the while telling their kids that an eagle ray is a stingray, a sand tiger is a tiger, a yellowtail is a yellowfin tuna, etc. But kids do seem to learn a lot, often despite their parents' best efforts, and they certainly start to care about marine life by seeing it firsthand. Humans are becoming increasingly separated from other species, so offering opportunities for us to get close to the rest of the world's critters becomes more important. It's pathetic that we have to capture animals and hold them captive in order to remind ourselves of nature, but that's where we're at and I doubt this situation is going to change much. Husbandry of marine organisms also affords us the opportunity to conduct a great deal of research that would otherwise be very difficult, in addition to giving us a chance to restore or maintain populations of threatened species by having "reserves" of them in tanks (either on display or in back rooms). Without public support (ticket sales) it'd be a lot harder to fund some of that work. Aquariums are also home to a number of sustainable fisheries programs, such as Monterey's Seafood Watch program, that are getting people to think about what they order from restaurants and fish markets.

As for home aquariums, yeah, they seem pretty ridiculous. I remember watching locals gathering up aquarium fish and giant clams from the reefs in Tonga, to send to the U.S. or wherever. The ironies are numerous. Picture a Hollywood filmmaker with a home aquarium loaded with young giant clams and other Tongan reef animals, and a Tongan aquarium fish gatherer who's used his earnings to buy a VCR so he can watch the Hollywood guy's films. Yay.
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#27 Graham Abbott

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 03:24 AM

Even though I haven't been to one in years. I suppose I have no big problem with the big aquariums. Or should I say those big aquariums who educate the people who go in to see the marine life. I reckon if any aquariums are selling books on how to keep marine animals or start up your own aquarium, then I would have to say that I'm totally against them. In my mind this is only promoting more live fish traders to feed the growing market.

I am totally for aquariums that breed fish, however what I don't like is the fact that I hear some aquariums have animals which simply shouldn't be in there. Why on earth have animals which simply have very limited lifespans in an aquarium. I'm sure most of the animals have limited lifepsans? Though animals like whale sharks, dugongs and the likes are surely nothing more than an attraction for the aquarium to brign in more money. Yeah sure your kid is going to be made up to see a big shark, though is he being told that the shark he is seeing is now becoming a fairly rare animal and not a killer beast like portrayed all over TV and the media?

Are the kids being told that the little "Nemo" clown fish are being collected in many places by cyanide, killing lots of reef and that it is better for little Johnny to keep going to the big aquariums rather than trying to keep his own, which is not easy at all. If a message is beign put across then surely aquariums are doing a good job, if there is no message then they should not be allowed!

#28 KarstenMoran

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 03:08 PM

Great article in the New York times at the moment - touching precisely on this topic. It comes to an interesting conclusion and puts forth some great points. Read to the end, it's well worth it.

http://www.nytimes.c...amp;oref=slogin

#29 TheRealDrew

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 03:47 PM

Great article in the New York times at the moment - touching precisely on this topic. It comes to an interesting conclusion and puts forth some great points. Read to the end, it's well worth it.


Interesting concept about having to see them up close to care - they know more about this than I do, but I remember when I was young all I had to do was see a photo or video (above or below water) to get excited. And I went to an aquarium recently (had not been one in about 7 years) that is suppossed to be one of the better ones and it was incredibly dissapointing on many levels.

To me it was dark and depressing and way overcrowded. There were so many Rays in the one exhibit and it appeared to have a cement bottom of some sorts. I know the exhibit is so people can see the ray, and it is probably easier to maintain the tank, but could not shake the feeling that the Rays not being able to burrow into a sandy bottom as I normally see them was wrong.

I try to temper these thoughts that the non-divers did seem to respond to some degree to what they were seeing and that the people running these places know alot more the subject than I do and are hopefully ulitmately altruistic in their intentions. Then you read about Ralph and the perforated stomach or airlifting them via UPS - urgh.

Thanks for pointing the article out.

#30 Seriola

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 11:44 PM

I read that article today, and even being a professional aquarist, I kind of liked it. I agree with the article in most respects. Didn't like/agree with the comment about force feeding being a "common practice" among aquariums, maybe among zoos, having more to do with raising young animals I think.

A lot of large public aquariums out there, worldwide and here at home, are a little too "corporate" for me. They just don't focus on the visitor experience enough. One of last lines in the article, about striking an emotional response from visitors, I think that is the most important factor to consider for any facility displaying Earth's flora and fauna. I know I feel it to be my professional responsibility to display animals that cause someone to say "Wow." Unfortunately there just aren't enough facilities out there that focus on that.

Also, the point about man improving nature. The oil rigs @ New Orleans was a great example! It was nice to finally have a national voice advocate NOT throwing more crap into the ocean!

Edited by Seriola, 08 April 2007 - 11:45 PM.

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#31 terradale

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 04:25 PM

Norton, Georgia Aquarium's (GA) Whale Shark who was delivered along with Ralph {RIP} has been on a feeding tube prior to even Ralph's demise. In addition, the Atlanta Aquarium has applied to Taiwan for two more whale sharks. And Taiwan would like to review the application further. This does sound a bit hypocritical, since supposedly Taiwan raises whale sharks for sushi. Although, my only real education about what Taiwan does with their captured whale sharks comes from recent research and the Georgia's Aquarium's tactfully placed "Saved from Sushi" campaign. Please enlighten me if you know differently.

GA is now reporting that Ralph died because he had " a perforated stomach, which an expert said might have been caused by force-feeding through a PVC pipe. He died of peritonitis, an inflammation of the stomach lining."

They suspect Ralph's and Norton's initial illness was due to when "workers treated it in 2005 with a chemical to rid it of leeches. Alice and Trixie were still in Taiwan. Ralph and Norton soon stopped eating, prompting the force-feedings."

So, 1st - they've been force feeding Norton since both Ralph & Norton became ill at the same time!! 2nd, we MAY have learned that whale sharks don't like chemicals that get rid of leeches. 3rd, they don't like being forced-fed (sarcasm) and so on. Also, within the article it indicates that Trixie & Alice are fine. BTW... Alice & Trixie were delivered a year after Ralph & Norton (June 2005), so hopefully time will not tell another tale.

About now I'm probably losing you... here's the official story link (please read between the lines):

http://www.ajc.com/m...lvaquarium.html

WHY HAVEN'T THEY MOVED NORTON from land-locked Atlanta?!? I thought the Georgia Aquarium had research outpost in Savannah, GA or even better move Norton to an Aquarium that has access to the OCEAN.

Edited by terradale, 25 April 2007 - 04:27 PM.


#32 Seriola

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 10:47 PM

You've touched on some really important points as to why NOT to build large saltwater aquariums two hundred miles inland :)
I agree with you completely... when I heard about Georgia Aq for the first time, I thought it was a joke... unfortunately it was not.
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#33 Drew

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 04:29 AM

I find it particularly rich of the Taiwan Fisheries Agency to be concerned with whaleshark's welfare when the sale of sharks fin is so pervasive in Taiwan. If there is CITES protection, why does Taiwan allow the landing of 30 of them?
Even if buying them doesn't contravene CITES regulations, doesn't taking 4 whalesharks out of the water make it 4 less for breeding in the wild?

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#34 james

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 08:25 PM

Hi all,

I just went to the Atlanta aquarium and checked out their ocean exhibit today. It was pretty impressive!

I found it pretty ironic that everyone has raised such concerns about the whalesharks when in the cold-water exhibit, when at the same time, they have 3 beluga whales (BIG SMART mammals) in captivity.

Maybe people don't know about the belugas???

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#35 Drew

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 11:32 PM

James
The unfortunate truth is that most people don't know that Belugas and other bigger animals die a fraction of their lifespan in captivity. Still I'm almost ok with it IF there is a healthy wild population.
Whaleshark populations are obviously shrinking. Unfortunately protection comes from the vote worried government, which means the fishermen will get the larger say.

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#36 Seriola

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 11:00 PM

James, pretty sure the belugas were rescued and/or taken from an inadequate facility. I can't remember the exact details, but it sounded legitimate at the time when a mammalogist explained it to me.

Drew, that's a pretty general statement. I know some large marine mammals do just fine in captivity, if not exceed their natural lifespans. A lot of captive animals do, I'm pretty sure the Assoc. of Zoos and Aquariums has some documentation on it.
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#37 terradale

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 05:58 PM

It sounds like TWO more whale sharks were approved by the Taiwanese to be "airmailed" to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Here's the story from the local newspaper - Atlanta Journal Constitution (which allows comments, if you quickly provide a sign-up profile for their marketing purposes. And with my experience, its nothing more/nothing less than that, aka - no spam.)

http://www.ajc.com/m...halesharks.html

Again, my concern is not so much that they are in an aquarium. But, that the Georgia Aquarium is a land-locked facility which is only 263 feet long x 126 feet wide x 33 feet deep. Thirty-three feet deep!! (That's a certification dive.) And to date no emergency plans have been put in place (that I know of) to relocate these sea-roaming passive animals if they do not assimilate to their new environment.

Your opinion may be more or less than mine. If you have the time, please let your thoughts be known.

Edited by terradale, 11 May 2007 - 06:06 PM.


#38 tjgreen

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:29 AM

I agree, Luiz! We have two salt-water tanks in my company's offices, and I've had ambivalent feelings about them for several years...knowing how many fish are killed for the few that make it into our tanks really bothers me. Fortunately, the tanks are well established and well serviced, so most of the fish live for several years and seldom need to be replaced. But when we recently needed a couple of new fish, I told the guy who takes care of them that I'd really prefer to only use fish bred in captivity from now on. He got a blank look on his face and said the only species he has heard of that are farm-raised are the little percula-like clowns Luiz mentioned. I asked him to please look into other species, and haven't heard back... I also asked him to look into fish that are "certified" as coming from "humanely harvested" sources, where cyanide is NOT used.


I've got a reef tank at home, and had the same reservations about . I asked my local fish stores for "humanely harvested" fish only; they gave me the same blank stare. However, I was eventually able to educate them on it, and get some stock ordered. I also tried to convince them that it was actually worth it to cater to those suppliers; even if they live, fish that have been collected w/ cyanide don't do as well - the stress shortens their life and makes them vulnerable to infection.

Thankfully, it's possible to take the moral high ground on live rock and coral, which you can grow yourself. They also have very large live rock and coral farms now. Most of my rock is either home-grown or from farmed sources; all the coral is grown from frags I bought or traded from other aquarists. There are very large groups of like-minded hobbyists; there's little you can't trade for and grow yourself, so both cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
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#39 tjgreen

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:34 AM

It sounds like TWO more whale sharks were approved by the Taiwanese to be "airmailed" to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Here's the story from the local newspaper - Atlanta Journal Constitution (which allows comments, if you quickly provide a sign-up profile for their marketing purposes. And with my experience, its nothing more/nothing less than that, aka - no spam.)

http://www.ajc.com/m...halesharks.html

Again, my concern is not so much that they are in an aquarium. But, that the Georgia Aquarium is a land-locked facility which is only 263 feet long x 126 feet wide x 33 feet deep. Thirty-three feet deep!! (That's a certification dive.) And to date no emergency plans have been put in place (that I know of) to relocate these sea-roaming passive animals if they do not assimilate to their new environment.

Your opinion may be more or less than mine. If you have the time, please let your thoughts be known.


The counter-question would be, are there other aquariums with the facilities and expertise to handle them. Also, what's the alternative - did you read down to the bottom of the article?

"The latest whale sharks bound for Georgia, each weighing about 1,750 pounds, are in a pen in Hualien, a city on Taiwan's east coast. They were part of a 30-shark annual quota set by Taiwan. The other 28 likely will be eaten, officials said."

I'd rather get to see them swimming in Atlanta than swimming in garlic sauce.
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#40 terradale

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 04:29 PM

The counter-question would be, are there other aquariums with the facilities and expertise to handle them. Also, what's the alternative - did you read down to the bottom of the article?

"The latest whale sharks bound for Georgia, each weighing about 1,750 pounds, are in a pen in Hualien, a city on Taiwan's east coast. They were part of a 30-shark annual quota set by Taiwan. The other 28 likely will be eaten, officials said."

I'd rather get to see them swimming in Atlanta than swimming in garlic sauce.



Yes I did read all the way down to the bottom of the article. Still doesn't make it right. Quick death or slowly dying in a land-locked aquarium. What's your choice? Feel free to add 'to be free' as one of the choices.

FYI... Another whale shark at the Atlanta based Georiga Aquarium isn't swimming anywhere.

Norton was euthanized this morning, Wednesday, June 13th.

Link:
http://www.ajc.com/m...0613norton.html

BTW... this is what a whale shark grows up to be: http://www.prosafari.../valhaj2-tj.jpg

Edited by terradale, 13 June 2007 - 04:30 PM.