August 24, 2016

The Global Aquarium Trade is highly destructive.

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Use of cyanide for capturing aquarium fish is common throughout the South Pacific

Help fund research that can help stop the destruction of marine ecosystems.

Aloha Coral Reef Advocates,

tropical-fish-underwaterOur work protecting coral reef wildlife begins in Hawaii and extends globally via our award winning mobile app, Tank Watch (now available for Android and Apple devices) and with our landmark research. Since 2015 we’ve been assessing the prevalence of cyanide-caught fish in the U.S. marine aquarium trade. The destructive practice of capturing fish with cyanide, though not used in Hawaii, is used widely in the Philippines and Indonesia, the largest exporters of marine life for aquariums. We’ve discovered that millions of marine fish – at least 50% – sold in U.S. pet stores are illegally captured with this deadly poison. We estimate that 30 million fish are exposed to cyanide in capture by the marine aquarium trade each year and that over 90% of those perish within 6 weeks of exposure. Cyanide use also kills countless invertebrates and thousands of acres of coral reefs each year.

We recently presented our initial findings at the prestigious International Coral Reef Symposium, and it was well received. As a result, we were invited to join a coral reef challenge grant and crowdfunding campaign offered by to help raise the funds necessary to complete this important research to help save coral reefs and wildlife.

To complete this project, we need $4,620 to test at least 50 more fish (both test subjects and controls). The funds will be used to purchase the fish and essential supplies and pay for sample analysis by an independent lab. This crowdfunding campaign to raise support for our research launched today: We are excited to share this project with you and will post progress reports on our project page. We expect to publish this fall and will thank all of our backers in our paper.

We’re reaching out to you now to ask for your support. If you can’t donate directly, could you please take a moment to share the project? Whether via social media posts or emails to any friends, family, or colleagues interested in science and coral reefs – we need your help in order to complete this groundbreaking work and take a giant step toward protecting the wildlife we all cherish.

If you have any additional questions about the research, or how this works, I’ll be happy to answer them. Thanks for supporting this science – the reprehensible use of cyanide in fish capture must end, and YOU can help make that happen.

Learn more about our project at Learn more about cyanide fishing in Poisoned Waters, a report we released with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Rene Umberger
Executive Director


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