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PIJAC seeks your help to defend aquarium trade

By Leonard Ho - Posted Dec 11, 2012 07:00 AM
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council seeks your financial support to defend the aquarium industry and hobby against the increasing legislative pressures to ban the trade of many tropical species including clownfish (including captive bred specimens), Acropora, and Hawaiian livestock.


PIJAC is a Washington DC nonprofit advocacy group whose stated mission is to "promote responsible pet ownership and animal welfare, foster environmental stewardship, and ensure the availability of pets."  PIJAC is reaching out to the aquarium industry and enthusiasts for financial support in its fight against looming anti-aquarium legislation, including:

  • NOAA's proposal to list 66 species of stony corals as endangered or threatened, which could result in the prohibition of ownership and trade of these corals, including captive propagated fragments.
  • Like clockwork, Hawaii's new 2013 legislative session will assuredly include numerous HI Senate and House Bills that seek the outright ban of aquarium collection.  The Hawaii Department of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR) is presently considering adding new marine ornamental fish regulations in addition to amending existing regulations.
  • Environmental groups are campaigning for clownfish and damselfish to be listed as endangered or threatened.  Such a listing under the US Endangered Species Act would not only mean the prohibition the trade of wild clownfish and damselfish but also captive-bred fish as well.


Advanced Aquarist does not officially endorse PIJAC but we encourage aquarists to learn more about their organization to see if it is cause you would like to support.

Advanced Aquarist understands a balance between industry and conservation is difficult to strike but believes the two are not mutually exclusive nor must they necessarily be at odds with one another.  Advanced Aquarist appeals to lawmakers to make their decisions based on scientific data, not public emotional appeals; Conservation and resource management are, after all, scientific issues.

While much work remains, the marine ornamental trade has made great strides in responsible and sustainable trade and husbandry. The marine aquarium hobby has adopted cooperative models with many Pacific coastal communities, encouraging stewardship of their natural resources by providing much needed economic incentives for conservation.  Our hobby is responsible for many captive breeding advancements of both corals and marine fish, with research initiatives (supported by the aquarium industry) such as the Rising Tide Conservation learning to breed an increasing number of reef fish species for the first time in history.  Conservation organizations like the Coral Reef Foundation have credited aquarists for the propagation techniques they use to restore Atlantic reefs with staghorn corals.  And aquariums, both public and private, have taught multiple generations to appreciate sea life.

Aquarists are under no illusion that our hobby has zero effect on coral reefs.  But to demonize aquarists as unconscionable pillagers of nature is not only unfair but the furthest thing from the truth.  We ask for less demagoguery and more dialogue.  Let's analyze the data and allow the facts to guide our decisions.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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