It is encouraging to see the animated discussion of important issues surrounding the future of our industry. We are particularly pleased to see CORAL allowing for dialogue, however, recent comments regarding our paper “Crawling to Collapse: Ecologically Unsound Ornamental Invertebrate Fisheries” have misinterpreted key phrases and ignored the data. For the benefit of the CORAL readers, we will summarize our findings and address some of the misinterpretations, in hopes of creating a collegial dialogue on how ornamental fisheries around the world can improve.
A bill now working its way through the United States Congress would effectively end the keeping of non-native species in home aquariums.
It is with some dismay that I read the responses of Watson, Moe, Wittenrich and Young regarding the article, “Crawling to Collapse: Ecologically Unsound Ornamental Invertebrate Fisheries,” by Rhyne et al. (2009).
The Rhyne et al paper that spawned the New York Times article is a publication that we take exception to, as it is full of hyperbole and inaccurate claims that really don’t have any place in peer-reviewed publication. The title itself would lead one to believe our fishery is on the precipice, due largely to activities of marine life fishermen and the curio trade. The real culprit to the demise of the coral reef that we knew in our youth is nutrient loading and diminished water quality due to lack of appropriate wastewater treatment and many other of man’s destructive activities that take place in the name of development.
The recent New York Times article which reports and discusses the paper “Crawling to Collapse: Ecologically Unsound Ornamental Invertebrate Fisheries”, published in the online journal, PloS ONE, highlights a disturbing trend in “science,” whereby the authors are allowed, if not encouraged, to pass off an opinion as if it were a scientific fact and publish these “facts” in a manner typical of advocacy and not science.