Living reef aquariums endangering reefs

Nov. 24, 2008 at 12:58 PM
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Conservationists say living reef aquariums may be endangering Florida's coral reefs.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the use of crabs, snails and other invertebrates in high-end aquariums could upset the ecology of Florida's reefs, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Monday.

"There has been a change in consumer demand," biologist Jessica McCawley told the newspaper. "People used to just keep a fish in a tank with some dead coral. They want invertebrates now, especially the cleanup crew: snails, crabs."

Divers landed 1.8 million crabs last year, compared to 117,889 in 1994, the newspaper said.

The commission is considering quotas for several species, including trip limits of 400 emerald crabs, 2 gallons of the snail Lithopoma tectum and 200 Condylactis anemones.

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