Defenders of Wildlife, a nonprofit advocacy group and pet retailer Petco Animal Supplies announced an agreement to bolster efforts to conserve and protect the world’s coral reefs and marine fish that live and depend on the reefs. As part of the agreement, Defenders of Wildlife will lend Petco their expertise in identifying and protecting certain marine fish species that are vulnerable to over-collection. They will also work to improve practices for Petco’s fish suppliers in an effort to ensure that harm to these reef environments are minimized, and will work on a program to track the success of the collaboration between Defenders of Wildlife and Petco.
“We are challenging the aquatics industry to follow our lead in making positive changes that protect coral reefs,” Rich Williams, Vice President of Companion Animals for Petco said in a statement. “Our efforts include educating our customers and the general public about environmentally responsible practices, and encouraging aquarium enthusiasts to choose aquacultured fish, which are born and raised in a tank environment, and not collected from the ocean.”
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For fishkeepers, the advocacy group and the pet retailer have launched a website called ChooseAquacultured.org that encourages aquarists to sign a pledge to purchase aquacultured fish versus wild-caught specimens.
According to a press release put out by the duo, Petco had three goals in mind when it agreed to work with Defenders of Wildlife: both want to see the implementation of strict requirements for fish collectors to use responsible and sustainable collection practices; both want to help prevent overfishing of marine species for the aquarium trade; and to encourage the sale of aquacultured fish instead of wild caught fish whenever possible.