It’s estimated more than 90% of ornamental marine fish and invertebrates (like coral) and between five and 10% of freshwater fish are wild caught for aquarium keepers to enjoy in their homes.
Fishermen can earn a living from their local rainforest rivers, rift valley lakes or coral reefs in some of the most remote countries in the world and are directly dependent on these habitats remaining healthy, so habitats can be protected because communities rely on them.
We believe these important benefits in the country of origin are often missed in the debate about wild caught fish. People, not fish, really lie at the heart of this issue. We need to ask ourselves what other livelihoods are open to them to feed their families if they cannot catch the species on their doorstep – and keep them alive to supply to our industry. And are those alternatives really ‘better’ – for them and the environment?
We wanted to examine the evidence for the positive benefits of wild caught fish so we commissioned the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology to review available scientific literature. Using this as a springboard, we then wrote our own summary of the global trade in wild caught fish and the benefits it can bring, particularly to the countries where the fish are taken.
Read our report
Case study videos
Watch a number of case study videos from across the world which show the importance of the industry to the people involved in catching the fish.
More information from around the world
Read a livelihood report on Peruvian fishermen, like those featured in the video above, which was prepared for us by FundAmazonia. This non-profit organisation funds research into sustainable development in the Amazon.
This is a great story from National Geographic magazine that shows what can be achieved when communities work together to catch wild discus in Brazil. It is examining the work of Project Piaba which is a non-profit organisation supporting the Brazilian fishermen who catch cardinal tetra and discus fish and maintain vast tracts of the Amazon rainforest in the process.
Watch a BBC report on Malawian fish business Stuart Grant Ltd which exports wild caught cichlids – a popular tropical freshwater aquarium fish.
Read the report from the Hawai’i State Department of Land and Resources looking at the Findings and Recommendations of Effectiveness of the West Hawai’i Regional Fishery Management Area (published in December 2014).
This is another interesting article from the OFI Journal looking at the re-establishment of the ornamental fish industry in Jamaica.
Read an article by Kenya Marine Centre which shows the many benefits supplying wild caught ornamental fish has brought to a small town in Kilifi County, published in OFI Journal.
Find out more about the work of Mars Sustainable Solutions in Indonesia where it is working with local communities to help them replace eco-damaging fishing techniques with sustainable techniques and to develop alternative business models that allow families to create new livelihoods.