Sea Save

Stop the sale

A list of fish, corals and inverts bought and sold for the Aquarium Industry is not always a good idea. Check to see what is best and what is NOT.

           Fish … why aren’t they considered Pets


The 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act established a Federal responsibility to conserve marine mammals with management vested in the Department of Interior for sea otter, walrus, polar bear, dugong, and manatee. Applause for that! All of these animals have rights and receive protection because they are MAMMALS. Animals sold in pet stores are also protected. Currently laws already exist that govern how most of these animals are to be kept (i.e. housing, space requirements, cleanliness of the habitat, etc). The rules exist for dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and small animals…. excluding fish. The health department, as well as animal control, is in charge of seeing to it that animals are being properly housed and treated. However, what about sharks, stingrays, seahorses, corals, starfish, giant clams and fish? We don’t know why but for whatever reason when these pet store laws were put into place fish weren’t seen as important enough

Proposal for Fish Rights

We would like to propose that fish have the same rights as all the other pets sold at pet stores. We propose that this law be changed to say “including fish”. We should hold wholesale facilities, aquariums and pet stores accountable for their fish loss by requiring that records be kept of all the fish that die within in their care. A protocol needs to be developed that explains how fish are to be kept and ways of measuring whether the living conditions are acceptable.

Questions to Ponder

1. Do you know where your fish come from?

It’s a good idea to get in the habitat of researching where your fish come from. For instance, are they tank raised? Buying as many tank raised fish as possible is a good thing! All tank raised fish have been bred in captivity and thus you are helping by not supporting the removal of more fish from the ocean.

2. Do you know how fish from the wild are collected?

Every person who owns an aquarium needs to be conscious of where their fish come from, but also how they are collected. Sometimes cyanide and other poisons are used in fish collection. They temporarily stun the fish so they and are easier to catch. Once the fish has been captured, it later revives, but then mysteriously dies sometime down the road… and cyanide or copper poisoning could be the culprit. Important note: Many pet stores wouldn’t even know that the fish they’re receiving have been caught with the use of cyanide or something similar. In many places these chemicals are illegal but they are still being used because it makes capturing easier. The MORE they catch, the MORE they kill. Bad collection methods aren’t the only problem though (See the handout “NO” to chemicals).

The Truth

There is a giant loop hole in the Pet Industry and it smells like fish! The reason we can’t put a stop to the harsh chemical use is because fish don’t have rights. Fish are God’s creatures too, and deserve just as much respect. Please join us in supporting sustainable fish keeping and collecting methods. Help us stop the use of chemicals like copper and formaldehyde.

Proposal for Fish Rights


We can hold fish wholesalers, aquariums, and pet stores accountable for their fish loss by requiring that records be kept of all the fish they receive that come in dead on arrival, and all the fish that die while in their care. We can also develop a protocol that explains how fish are to be kept and ways of measuring whether the living conditions are acceptable.


Parasites in fish can be controlled without the use of chemicals, but it involves taking some necessary measures. Firstly, fish must be quarantined, and by quarantined this means kept separate. You cannot mix a lot of fish together and call this quarantining. The reason for this is simple, the natural life cycle of a parasite is to fall off the fish and settle into the substrate in a cyst form. Since the life cycle involves the parasite falling off all on its own we can take advantage of this by placing fish in an environment where fresh water is flowing over the fish constantly. Doing this will ensure that when the parasite falls off that it is washed away, and thus unable to re-infect the fish. In order to properly quarantine you must have separate aquarium systems where the water is not all run together. If measures like this were implemented in wholesale facilities, aquariums and pet stores, larger volumes of healthy fish would be sold and fewer fish would die.


We at Sea Save Inc. would like to propose that fish have the same rights as all other pets sold at pet stores. Currently there already exists laws that govern how most animals sold at pet stores are to be kept (i.e. housing and space requirements, cleanliness of the habitat etc…) These rules exist for dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, amphibians and all small animals, excluding fish. The health department as well as animal control is in charge of seeing to it that animals are being properly housed and treated. We propose that this law be changed to say “including fish”.

How can we do this?

The Facts

Currently the death rates of fish coming from marine wholesale facilities are high because they are using a lot of chemicals on the fish at the wholesale facilities. Even the aquarium has a high death rate and must continuously re-order fish to replace all the ones that are dying in their care. These chemicals are used as preventative measures to make sure fish are shipped free of disease.

Problems with the chemicals being used

As of right now chemicals are used to treat parasites, bacterial and fungal infections in fish. Many of these chemicals do not work and worse will cause damage to their gills and liver, resulting later in unexplained death. Many of these chemicals are known to cause cancer. It says right on the labels of these bottles “Not safe for animals or humans” and yet we still continue to use them in our fish tanks. The chemicals say not safe for humans, but we are still putting our hands in the aquariums when we clean them. Products such as dog and cat food and medicine are required to go through the FDA; we propose that chemicals being used on fish also be approved. If they are not safe, then we can stop using them.

How can we do this?

The Louise Bill

We at Sea Save Inc. would also like to propose stopping the sale of nurse sharks to pet stores.

Nurse sharks are sold from wholesale facilities to pet stores without giving much thought to the fact that these fish will surely outgrow most any aquarium that they will be placed in. These sharks are capable of reaching lengths of 14 feet and weighing up to 330 lbs. Other species that shouldn’t be sold in the industry are black tip reef sharks, and bonnet head sharks as these species grow too large as well. No one can provide an aquarium the size of the ocean, and therefore they should be left in the wild. Even with a ban of large sharks in place, sharks could still be enjoyed in home aquariums. The species available for sale should be limited to smaller ones such as the bamboo cat sharks that only get a maximum of 3-4 feet.


We at Sea Save Inc. are proposing to stop the sale of nurse sharks to pet stores.


The aquarium Industry has a 90% DEATH rate, standard. That means 90 out of 100 fish brought into captivity DON’T live a month because they fundamentally put them all together and pour chemicals on them that are “NOT SAFE” for humans or animals. There are laws to protect humans and animals, NOT FISH. NO FDA, NO EPA, NO HUMANE SOCIETY, NO HEATH DEPARTMENT, NO RULES, NO REGULATIONS, just free reign to “KILL AT WILL” with what ever they want, “They’re just fish”.

Well “JUST FISH” includes; Seahorses, shrimps, crabs, eels, sharks, giant clams, brain corals, acropora, montipora, live rock, octopi, and ten of thousands of other creatures. Most of which could be aqua cultured anyway. BUT, our best “experts” believe a 90% death rate IS acceptable. 40 years ago someone wrote a book telling everybody to use copper, formaldehyde, methane blue, malachite green, etc. to “cure” fish of the disease of putting them all together (which is what MAKES them all sick), and they still teach out of the same old books. “Well stupid is as stupids taught”. “It’s time to think outside the books”.

Fish and other creatures of the world deserve to be treated the same as the other animals. The FDA should have to check fish products to make sure they “DO WHAT THEY SAY” and are safe for fish, corals, inverts, AND humans! Right now you can put poison in a bottle and sell it as “reef safe” killing the fish and the reef tank, also putting humans at risk of cancer, because these chemicals are NOT SAFE for humans and all the other animals. It says so right on the bottles. But people put their hands into the water with said chemicals ie. Class B Carcinogens such as formaldehyde which is poison.

The health department should make sure fish are not overcrowded and kept in unsanitary conditions or with inappropriate tank mates. For ex; Pet stores don’t and can’t put hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits all in the same pen, nor can they keep 50 mice in a 10 gallon tank, it’s cruel and unsafe to keep them together. Why then, can they put thousands of different fish together in the same water to fight and make each other sick and sell sharks that get 14 feet, 800l lbs, and makes sand?

Aquariums should have to use sustainable collecting practices too. Not the “standard” 90% dead like the rest of the industry. They should set a new standard and be an example of how to REALLY treat animals, instead of being an illusion having to replace fish every month to keep the lie going. It’s really just a business that is NOT held responsible for the life they KILL, just to make money, nothing more than a scam claiming conservation.

It’s time to STOP discriminating against fish and other creatures just because the experts want to live in the past and don’t understand they too have feelings and should not be tortured or treated in an unfair manner any more than the rest of the life on earth.

Aquariums, Pet Stores, Wholesale facilities, Universities and home aquarists all have a responsibility to treat life in general “to the best of their ability”, 90% is far from best. Please help the forgotten fish, they need your help too, it’s only fair!

To sign our petition;