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The feel-good story of Yellow Tangs in the wild

By Leonard Ho - Posted Sep 13, 2011 02:00 AM
Ret Talbot shared on facebook an interesting short article which describes the impressive success story of Yellow Tang wild-stock management. While our hobby is harvesting 81% more Yellow Tangs today than a decade ago, the number of wild Yellow Tangs has actually increased by 35%! How is this possible?
The feel-good story of Yellow Tangs in the wild

A juvenile Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) remains one of the most popular marine aquarium fish

"The yellow tang is far and away the most important species in the aquarium fishery comprising 73 percent of the total fish catch and 67 percent of the total value, or nearly $1 million.  [... ] That equates to 354,000 Big Island yellow tang caught last year. " - DAR

Mature yellow tangs tend to stay in one area for years, preferring shallow reef flats where algae is more abundant.  Tangs can also live for many decades.  These characteristics make it possible to foster thriving spawning populations by protecting key areas where breeding adults prefer.  And as we all know, aquarists prefer juvenile fish over big adults, so this type of management compliments demand.

If you provide sufficient safe haven for breeding, you see a dramatic increase in population enough to sustain a booming aquarium industry.  By banning 35% of Hawai'i's coastline from aquarium fish collection, tang populations are increasingly rapidly despite the aquarium industry collecting more fish than ever in unprotected zones.  This report clearly shows that total bans are not necessary for sustainable collection.  Smart management can yield impressive results.

Read the excellent short article in FishLife (published by The Department of Aquatic Resources).

Thanks Ret!

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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