Protecting the Coral Reefs and Tropical Fish of the World


Last Updated on June 24, 2023 by Snorkel Ken


The tropical fish that we have the privilege to see each and every time that we snorkel or dive are amazing.  I’m sure that you can agree if you’ve been snorkeling or diving before.  If you haven’t, and that’s why you’re here, then I can’t emphasize enough how much you’re going to love it when you do it.

A problem that I was pretty much naive to until recently is that of the aquarium trade and the way that it decimates the coral and tropical fish population, particularly in Hawaii where I currently live and snorkel.  I say naive because I never really gave a thought as to where salt water tropical fish that I see in pet stores came from.  I always assumed they were bred and sold in captivity as tropical fish. Protecting the coral reefs and fish are now a very significant topic(s) on my mind.

Then, after reading this story and watching this video, I started to look a little deeper into it.  Evidently this was some serious stuff.  After that I found another site called

Basically, it’s a competing webpage to my own, but I was intrigued even more about reef conservationhawaiian cleaner wrasse cleaning a fish and the commercial tropical fish trade for aquariums after reading the Snorkel Bob Foundation page.  You can read it all on that page and I think you might find it very interesting and, hopefully, a bit sad and then decide to support.

Here are  a few of my favorite points from that page on protecting the coral reefs:

  • 80% of all aquariums in the US are filled with Hawaiian Reef Fish
  • 99% of those fish die in one year.
  • Most would live up to 40 years in their natural coral, tropical habitat if left be.
  • Tropical Fish traders will capture fish and sell them for $3 to $4 when they leave Hawaii but those same fish will retail at $30 to $40! Keep in mind, this is an already dying fish in all respect.
  • A movement is growing to take the Hawaiian green sea turtles off of the endangered list so they can hunted and eaten.

Here are a few of my Personal Points:


First, touch a sea turtle in front of me and I’ll lose my mind.  They’re endangered.  They’re peaceful.  They deserve to be left alone.

Secondly, I’ve never seen a Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse.  I’ve been snorkeling on Oahu for more than ahawaiian cleaner wrasse protection year and I haven’t seen one.  These fish are endemic to’s the only place they exist.  They’re gorgeous and bright.  That works against them, though.

The  Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse with its purple-bluish and yellow colors would look great in an aquarium. They’re gorgeous fish.  However, they have an important job in the waters.  They clean parasites off of other fish.  This keeps the other fish healthy and the cleaner wrasse fed.  Here’s the problem, though:  They don’t eat in captivity and they die of starvation in 30 days.  So, if you’re thinking about buying one from a dealer or retailer ask yourself how long that fish may have been in captivity for already and how much longer it will live.  Is it worth the $50 you’ll spend on it?  It was sold for $4 from Hawaii.

You can find even more information here from Snorkel Bob, who I’m proud to say will have my support  and that of the Snorkel Store’s on this movement from here on out.


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