These are just some of the references for the information provided on this site. Please contact us directly to request sources not listed on this page.
"Respondents reported that, on average, they expect 4% of the specimens in
a given shipment to be dead on arrival (DOA), and they anticipate losing an
additional 5% of the specimens within 3 days of arrival (DO3). Interestingly,
88% of respondents felt that their reported loss rate was either "average" or
"less than average." In fact, 54% reported a loss rate that was greater than
the averages just stated. Only 38% of respondents reported losses that
were actually below 4% DOA and 5% DO3, respectively. Eighty-five percent
of respondents track mortalities, and of these, 73% keep records both by
species and source."
Note: These high mortalities are one reason why the reform effort and certification scheme, the Marine Aquarium Council (MAC), failed. To address the unacceptable mortality rates MAC proposed setting a cap on death rates for each step in the chain of custody (up to 8 steps in some cases). Some trade members argued that it should start at 10% (easy to see why, from above), and others argued for 5% -- 40% - 80% mortality from reef to retail
. Both groups wanted to start high and eventually try and bring it down. MAC ultimately capped mortalities at 1% for each step - a number that is still unattainable today for the majority of wildlife captured and shipped around the world.
Today a 5% shipping mortality allowance is still standard in the trade -- a figure that would never be tolerated for any other animal sold as a pet.
2. State Reports on Hawaii's Aquarium Trade Impacts:
a) Aquarium Trade a Major Cause of Coral Reef Degradation
b) Aquarium Trade Threatens Targeted Species with Extinction:
Description and Example
; Full List
3. High Yellow Tang Mortalities from Reef to Retail to Hobbyist:
Doug Robbins, PhD. in Advanced Aquarist, 2002:
Division of Aquatic Resources states that, based on
collectors' reports, 52% of collected fishes here are yellow
tangs, yielding an astonishing figure of 200,000 yellow tangs
taken per year. To me, this leads to the clear inference that
high mortality rates must exist at every level of the trade from
collection through the end point in the tanks of consumer
If Dr. Robbins were alive today, imagine what he'd be saying about the mortality rates with current take at nearly twice that of 2002.
4. Aquarium Trade Best Practices Manual
a) Best Practices drafted by industry and marine fish experts
. This manual was very informative in the landmark Maui law that prohibits fin/spine trimming, fizzing/piercing swim bladders, starving longer than 24 hours for shipping purposes.
5. Hawaii Environmental Agencies Urge Emergency Moratorium on Aquarium Take