Collectors Education

As the nature of  aquarium trade today is the importance of high quality fish, fishermen and middlemen realised that they must minimize the mortality of these freshwater fishes and maintain their quality. As the shipping process can be long and arduous, many of these wild-caught fishes often fail to survive the journey. This is when education is essential to equip the fishermen and middlemen so as to improve their fishing techniques and the trade. Better and positive catching techniques coupled with improvement in packing technology which allows high stocking densities for longer periods, it is definitely beneficial to both the fishermen and the species. By empowering these fishermen and middlemen with knowledgeable use of suitable anaesthetics and chemicals, it does not only decrease the mortality of the fishes but aid the fishermen and middlemen to deliver high quality freshwater fishes.

Consumer Education
Guests at the Touchpool

Education at the touchpool at ABQ BioPark Botanic Aquarium by Albuquerque BioPark, form

Home aquarists have been educated of the potential for ecological harm that their hobby can cause for many years. There are many ways in which this education can be channelled such as the use of social media such as creating Facebook groups, blogs and websites, media such as television programmes, magazines and the news or through campaigns and events. However, there are two major issues that has to solved in order for this to worked. Firstly, the consumers must want to be educated. Secondly, the message and information must be effectively conveyed to them. In my opinion, thirdly, it is important to lay out and follow up on the practical steps they can engage in to play a part in these conservation efforts. After all, education with no change in behaviour is just a waste of efforts.

Also, I would like to suggest also the importance of making a long-term impact through the education of the young. Education of the issues and conservation can begin as early as in the classrooms of these pre-schoolers through lessons and educational field trips to the Aquariums. This is where the aquariums over Southeast Asia such as the S.E.A aquarium in Singapore can play a part in conservation. Other than showcasing the different species of fishes, they can provide appealing and interactive information corners on the species and the issues of overexploitation of freshwater fishes and how people can play a part in the conservation efforts.

Other than educating them about the techniques, it is important also educate them about the seriousness of the issue of overexploitation of freshwater fishes due to aquarium fish trade and how they can play a part in the conservation efforts. However, education alone is not important, there must be enough incentives to convince the fishermen and middlemen to harvest sustainably and engage in conservation efforts.