Sunday, June 19, 2016

Six million tropical fish poisoned and brought to U.S. pet stores annually

Researchers say roughly 6 million tropical fish imported into the United States each year have been poisoned by cyanide off the coasts of countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.

Sodium cyanide is often used by tropical fishers to disorient and stun fish, making them easier to catch. Exposure to the poison can cause heart, brain, and liver damage to fish. It also damages nearby coral reef habitats.

Scientists found that roughly 50 per cent of wild-caught aquarium fish tested positive for cyanide exposure.
The report came just a day ahead of Friday’s release of the Disney sequel Finding Dory, which features an animated blue tang fish. Scientists are concerned the film will increase global demand for the blue tang fish, and could in turn devastate the wild population. The blue tang fish can only breed in the wild. Scientists have failed to successfully develop a method to breed the fish in aquariums.

A blue tang fish, taken from the wild will cost anywhere from $100 to $200. That figure will inevitably rise. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that 90 per cent of aquarium fish are still imported illegally.