Thursday, September 20, 2012

MarineDepot.com Backs MASNA Position on Hawaii Aquarium Fishery


MarineDepot.com has partnered with the Marine Aquarium Societies of North America to support the non-profit organization’s positions on sustaining marine environments, aquarium fisheries and the ethical growth of the marine aquarium hobby through captive breeding/propagation efforts.

“MarineDepot.com and MASNA have long shared similar sets of values,” said Ben Ros, Director of Operations for MarineDepot.com. “Partnering with this distinguished organization is a way to amplify our shared positions on responsible aquarium keeping and sustainable aquarium fishery.”

Anti-aquarium activists introduced 14 aquarium-related bills to the Hawaii State Legislature in 2012, including “ban bills” that would make aquarium livestock collection illegal. Although the resolutions failed, special interest groups continue to fight for their cause, resorting to scare tactics and the spread of misinformation.

MASNA launched HawaiiBanFactCheck.org in February to assess statements made in regard to legislation seeking to ban or regulate the marine aquarium trade in Hawaii. HawaiiBanFactCheck.org monitors the factual accuracy of information disseminated by individuals, anti-trade groups, politicians and others seeking to close or regulate Hawaii’s marine aquarium fishery, as well as information put forth by individuals supporting the trade. The goal is to assess the accuracy of the information and educate the public about the facts concerning Hawaii’s marine aquarium fisheries and trade.

A few key points HawaiiBanFactCheck.org has listed on their website:

  • Most of the measures seeking to close the marine aquarium fishery in Hawaii are based on claims that the fishery is “devastating” Hawaii’s reefs. The data does not support these claims.
  • Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) aquatic biologist Dr. William Walsh stated in testimony responding to allegations of devastation, “This is not devastation.” Walsh was speaking specifically to the marine aquarium fishery in West Hawaii, which is the largest aquarium fishery in the State. Walsh and his colleagues, as well as independent researchers, believe there is no credible scientific data showing a total ban on Hawaii’s marine aquarium fishery is warranted at this time.
  • There are no species of fishes currently collected for the marine aquarium trade in Hawaii that are designated as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Likewise, there are no species of fish currently collected for the marine aquarium trade in Hawaii that are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
  • While the marine aquarium fishery continues to be targeted for closure, other stressors—such as recreational fishing and commercial harvest—are receiving little, if any, attention despite their significant impact on the environment.
“One of MASNA's most important missions is the education of our membership on marine aquarium issues. With this new effort, we have expanded that mission to include educating the membership and the public at large, as to the misinformation and, unfortunately, outright falsehoods that are disseminated by the anti-pet groups,” said Steven Pro, President of MASNA. “MASNA believes that an open and fair process, based on a dialog involving all stakeholders, is the appropriate way to address concerns about fisheries management. Let's talk about the facts.”

To help support MASNA endeavors, MarineDepot.com recently became a Corporate Contributor to the organization, providing a substantial financial donation with additional services designed to help spread awareness about the group and their HawaiiBanFactCheck.org initiative.

MarineDepot.com is presently promoting MASNA and HawaiiBanFactCheck.org in both online and offline channels, including email, social media, print catalogs and in-box flyers. In fact, the first 10,000 recipients to receive a MASNA flyer with their aquarium supply order from MarineDepot.com also get a $15 off coupon for the Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (MACNA) in Dallas/Fort Worth September 28-30. This year MACNA, the largest and oldest marine aquarium conference in North America, will feature a keynote address from Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of world renowned conservationist, filmmaker, scientist, author and researcher Jaques Cousteau.

“Legislation that threatens to ban fish collection for the aquarium trade is an important issue to us and our customers,” notes Ros. “Everyone in the aquarium community is a stakeholder. It is critical we unite on issues that may threaten our livelihoods and the hobby we love so much.”

To learn more about Hawaii marine aquarium fishery and legislation, visit http://hawaiibanfactcheck.org/. To learn more about MASNA’s mission or to join their ranks, visit http://www.masna.org/. To learn more about aquariums or to get started in the hobby, visit http://www.marinedepot.com/.