The issue

«The situation is getting worse.» – UN General Secretary António Guterres gets to the point in his opening remarks at the UN’s Ocean Conference in 2017. Nearly one third of the world’s coral reefs have already been lost.

The aquarium industry and human desire to observe fish and other creatures in captivity have played a large part in the current concern. Of the over 2,000 species of coral fish and hundreds of coral species traded internationally, practically all have been taken from the wild, torn from their natural environments.

Up to  80 percent of coral fishes may die before ever reaching an aquarium due to catching, handling and transport methods. A study revealed that up to 98 percent of fish end up dying in captivity during their first year.

Our project

It is virtually impossible to keep marine animal species in suitable captive conditions. In their natural habitat, sharks and rays, for example, cover distances of hundreds of kilometres, dive to great depths or live in large schools.

In confined aquariums, on the other hand, many fish get injured, suffer from deformations, become disturbed and aggressive – until they eventually perish. Fondation Franz Weber raises awareness of these ills, changes public understanding, keeps up the pressure and asks questions.

We campaign against over-fishing of the oceans – and in particular against removing ornamental marine fish, corals and other animals from our seas. A short, miserable life is what awaits these creatures in an aquarium – that is, if they even survive the exhausting journey in the first place.

Publications:

M. V. Biondo, Quantifying the trade in marine ornamental fishes into Switzerland and an estimation of imports from the European Union, Glob. Ecol. Conserv. (2017).

M. V. Biondo, Importation of marine ornamental fishes to Switzerland, Glob. Ecol. Conserv. (2018).

S. Ndobei, I. Yasiri, A.M. Moore, M.V. Biondo, S.J. Foster, Study to assess the impact of international trade on the conservation status of Pterapogon kauderni (Banggai cardinalfish). CITES, AC 30 (2018).

M.V. Biondo, R.P. Burki, Monitoring the trade in marine ornamental fishes through the European Trade Control and Expert System TRACES: Challenges and possibilities, Mar. Policy (2019).

M.V. Biondo, The Impact to Reefs of The Trade in Marine Ornamental Fishes. REEF ENCOUNTER (2019).

M.V. Biondo, R.P. Burki, A Systematic Review of the Ornamental Fish Trade with Emphasis on Coral Reef Fishes — An Impossible Task. ANIMALS (2020).

More infos:

More projects:

Our goals

  • Oppose the aquarium industry using our expertise and our international network
  • Raise public awareness about the issues surrounding catching ornamental marine fish
  • Prevent the construction of large-scale aquariums such as the planned «Ozeanium» in Basel

Latest

Facts and Figures

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0 coral fish species
ARE TRADED FOR THE AQUARIUM INDUSTRY
0 coral fish species
ARE COMMERCIALLY BRED. ALL OTHERS ARE CAUGHT IN THE WILD
0 per cent
OF CAPTURED CORAL FISH DIE ON THEIR WAY TO THE AQUARIUM