The staggering death rate of captive reef wildlife occurs mostly in the 30-day span between capture and chemical error in a home aquarium. Many of these species live for decades in the wild, providing reef function and reef balance.
Hawaii is the third largest supplier of reef fish in the U.S. aquarium trade, accounting for empty reefs and vanishing reef species. Florida takes millions of reef individuals annually, even as society scapegoats the invasive lionfish, a voracious predator introduced by the aquarium trade to east coast and Caribbean reefs. Lionfish did not reach the Atlantic on their own.
Aquarium trade trafficking leaves reefs unbalanced, degraded, and depleted. No factor in reef decline can absolve any other factor- acidification, runoff, climate change, or any other negative impact on reef health cannot justify aquarium extraction. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society seeks to stop global trafficking in live fish for hobby or display markets.