What Scientists Say

Even the Yellow Tang populations in the open areas – which are the ones that are being collected – have increased by 31 percent. So it’s very significant that all the areas are increasing – not just the areas that are closed (to collection). [...] Having a well-managed fishery makes sense both ecologically and economically for the state of Hawai’i.

- William J. Walsh, PhD, Aquatic Biologist

We’ve collected data for over 17 years from over 6,700 surveys and have found that aquarium fish populations are generally stable and increasing in West Hawai'i where, again, most of these aquarium fish are collected. The populations of Yellow Tang and Kole – which are the two most heavily collected species – are not declining. In recent years, they’ve both been increasing both in the protected areas and in open areas. [...] If you define sustainable as the numbers remaining the same and/or increasing, then they’re sustainable.

- Dr. Bruce Carlson, former Waikiki Aquarium Director and Chief Science Officer at the Georgia Aquarium

My entire career has been shaped by my childhood fascination with keeping aquariums. I mean most of my childhood, from my earliest years all the way through college, it was all about keeping these things alive in captivity which led me to understanding their behavior which led me to scuba diving and understanding what their natural environment was like and it really drew me into the entire profession of marine biology.

- Richard Pyle, PhD. Bishop Museum

Areas where you see hundreds of fish normally — that’s a lot of fish. But now you’re seeing thousands. In 35 years, it’s the most fish I’ve ever seen.

- Ron Tubbs B.S. N.D. N.C.

All of the science indicates that this is a very sustainable fishery. We have almost 20 years of good monitoring data on coral reefs where fish collecting occurs, and both the fishes and coral reefs habitats…are doing very well.

- Randall Kosaki, Ph.D., NOAA scientist

A picture of a fish is worth 1,000 words, but in many ways a live fish in an aquarium is worth 1,000 pictures. It really does compel people to care not just about that fish in the aquarium but the habitat that it came from.

- Randall Kosaki, Ph.D., NOAA scientist

Hawaii has a well-managed, intensively studied, sustainable aquarium fishery–lauded as one of the best managed coral reef fisheries in the world.

- Dr. Bruce Carlson, former Waikiki Aquarium Director and Chief Science Officer at the Georgia Aquarium