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Study Updates Knowledge on Species Destined for U.S. Aquariums

A new analysis of importation records reveals that the U.S. marine aquarium trade brings in more species than previously estimated, but, due to errors on the forms, over counts the total number of individuals. Reliable data are important as coastal managers seek to reduce diseases and species from other parts of the world invading and threatening their local ecosystems.

Approximately 40 countries export fish and other living creatures to the U.S. for hobbyists’ saltwater fish tanks. Many of the declarations mischaracterized the species in the shipment. Freshwater fish, corals and other non-marine wildlife were marked as marine ornamental fish. Americans buy more than half of all marine aquarium fish sold globally, according the New York Times, which featured this study in its Green blog.

NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program-funded this analysis, which was published in the Public Library of Science (PLoS). Scientists and students from Roger Williams University, New England Aquarium, U.S. Geological Survey, Boston University, Conservation International, NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, and the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation contributed to the study.

Related NCCOS Center(s):
Shorter web link for sharing: http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/news/?p=5891

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