How Cardinal Tetras are Saving the Rainforest: Project Piaba
Hundreds of millions of aquarium fish are sold each year throughout the world, with an economic value of over 600 million. Fish in the hobby come from many different sources, including farms in Florida and wild caught fish from the flooded forests, streams, and lakes of the Rio Negro in the Amazon. Tens of millions of fish are exported yearly from this area, and are the major economic source of income for many native people. Project Piaba is a community based, interdisciplinary project which has helped improve the livelihood of these native fishermen and maintain the integrity of the rainforests in the region—both vital to sustainability of the peoples and the wildlife in the area. Join us as we talk to Scott Dowd, of the New England Aquarium, about Project Piaba, and how buying aquarium fish helps save the rainforest!
Scott Dowd is a Senior Aquarist at New England Aquarium in Boston, MA, USA and a founding member of Project Piaba. He received his M.Sc. from the University of Stirling in 2003; his thesis was entitled “Observations on the cardinal tetra fishery with an emphasis on the measurement of stress.” For the past 15 years, Scott has been actively involved in conservation of the cardinal tetra fishery in the mid-Rio Negro region of the Amazon, working along the entire industry chain of Amazonian fishermen, exporters, importers, retail stores, and hobbyists. He continues to be a strong proponent of the trade in environmentally friendly ornamental fish worldwide.