How do aquarium fish become invasive?

Aquariums can act as a pathway for marine invasive alien species, as dumping the contents of an aquarium into any waterbody can introduce a non-indigenous species to a natural environment. The fish you have in your aquarium tank can come from one of two sources: they are either captive-bred or wild-caught. These fish are usually taken from their natural habitat before being transported and sold in the aquarium trade. About 90% of the 5,000 species that belong to the aquarium trade are usually bred in captivity.

‘’One-third of aquatic invasive species in the world have been identified as ornamentally or aquarium released’’, according to a recent report from the Convention on Biological Diversity. The worldwide ornamental fish industry is currently valued at US $15 billion dollars and every year one billion ornamental fish are commercialized with a value of US $6 billion dollars. Around 800-1000 varieties and species are traded worldwide. The ornamental fish trade has been recognized as a pathway for the introduction of non-native species in some countries, varieties and species are traded worldwide. Ornamental fish trade has been recognized as a pathway for the introduction of non-native species in some countries.

Invasive species threaten the economy, environment, and human health. Marine invasives compete with native species, predate on others, disrupt habitats, modify tropical webs, and introduce diseases. Recently, a survey was conducted for Barbados and the OECS countries, to determine the scope of possible high-risk marine invasives that may enter the region in the future. The survey provided data that was able to narrow the marine invasives by the vector of introduction, possible risk factors for spread, and other relevant information, this can be found in our Marine Risk Assessment Report.

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Read more from our sources below!


Massive Science – Where do aquarium fish come from?

Caribbean Invasives – The Local Pet Store – Information and IAS

Caribbean Invasives – Marine Risk Assessment Report

ResearchGate – Aquarium trade as a pathway for the introduction of invasive species into Mexico

ResearchGate – Beyond Ballast Water: Aquarium and Ornamental Trades as Sources of Invasive Species in Aquatic Ecosystems

Policy Brief – Prevention and Management of Marine Invasive Alien Species in the Caribbean