Posted on: September 13, 2011

Free Talk on Hawaii's Aquarium Trade on September 29

Pacific Whale Foundation's Making Waves Lecture Series will feature a free talk and slide show on Hawaii's aquarium trade by local activist Rene Umberger on Thursday, September 29, 2011. The talk takes place from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm at Pacific Whale Foundation's Discovery Center downstairs at the Ma'alaea Harbor Shops (next door to Maui Ocean Center). The talk is free and open to all.

"Many people are surprised to learn that 98% of all saltwater aquarium animals are wild caught -- and that over 30 million fish are plucked from coral reefs worldwide each year for the aquarium trade," says Drew Sulock, coordinator of the Making Waves Lecture Series. "We are pleased to present this informative talk and slide show about aquarium trade collecting in Hawaii."
 
Rene Umberger is an activist who has worked tirelessly to end the practice of aquarium collecting in Hawaii. A scuba instructor and dive guide, she has logged over 10,000 dives on Maui since 1983. When not underwater she has worked developing educational materials and environmental standards for marine tourism and a system for cleaning the thousands of pounds of abandoned fishing gear smothering several Maui reefs. As founder of the nonprofit project, For the Fishes (http://www.forthefishes.org/), since 2008 Umberger’s been educating Hawaii communities on the aquarium trade’s impacts to coral reef wildlife. 
 
 “Collection of wildlife from Hawaii’s reefs to fill the demand created by hobby aquarists causes significant environmental harm,” says Umberger.  “It also causes wildlife stress, injury and death.”  
 
Umberger is part of a dedicated group of reef advocates, including Pacific Whale Foundation, which has presented testimony at key meetings and gathered thousands of signatures and are working to protect Hawaii's wildlife and reefs from the trade’s harmful practices. 
 
Pacific Whale Foundation's Making Waves Lecture Series takes place bimonthly, on the third Thursday of the month. This month's talk, on September 29, will take place on the fifth Thursday of the month. For information, call Pacific Whale Foundation at (808) 249-8811 ext. 1.