The two examples I mentioned are in no way different...they are mirrors of what we can see in regards to the wild importation of cephalopods.
There is NO reason to import some species, other than as "crank" items.
We don't have even a modicum of experience with bimacs so far, and yet, the new arrivals are being snatched up as fast as they arrive. Two importers in town here are actively looking for more wonderpuss to fill orders that they have.
Are you seriously tryiing to tell me that there is no impact from this? Where does this end? Haven't you listened to Dr. O'Shea? Haven't you watched the news?
People, if you really care for cephs, (or any living animal for that matter) we have got to wake up and smell the coffee.
There is nothing wrong with collecting from a sustainable population...to a point. Thales is completely correct that legislation is the key to this. Problem= people don't want to hear it.
We don't want to hear that you won't be able to eat fish in 2040. Your children will never have a tuna fish sandwich that is safe to eat, even if tuna still exist.
Are we honestly justifiable in keeping cephs in captivity?
Yes, I believe we are.
They may well become the foodstuffs of tomorrow, with a fast reproduction rate and quick life cycle. (personally, can't stand the taste...would rather eat two legged mutton)
But, you have to question whether or not it is responsible to keep them in captivity, especially those of unknown population amounts.
Had a depressing conversation with an animal wholesaler/importer yesterday...it sounds like wild ceph imports are going to reach an all-time high this year, the demand keeps on growing and growing, but the lack of education on the part of the purchasers is disturbing.
Be sure to tell people at your lfs about Tonmo, with Thales, Colin, Nancy, and Carol on board, at least the new stuff will have a chance at life, and maybe we can start to puzzle out some of the gaps we are missing in octopus care.
There's no reason to import any octopus, really. From mercatoris to briareus to bimacs pretty much any reasonable pet octo is available domestically. Compare the experiences with these animals versus imported "brown" and "bali" octopuses! The only import that anyone seems to have much luck with is A. aculeatus.
Even cuttlefish don't need much in the way of imports--Rich and Jennifer have demonstrated that you can get a whole lot of babies from a handful of imported eggs.
I work for an aquarium service company with a retail store in New England--when they first found out about my ceph fetish I was told that I was the only customer they had who they would suggest an octopus for, because I'm one of the only ones who would give it daily attention. Its not the panacea, but there is a lot of responsibility at the retail-end not to sell or order anything the customer asks for.
Greg, good point. I know we want to provide a TONMO.com flyer for LFS's to give to their ceph-buying customers, kind of like, "here, take this flyer, visit this site to give and get support and guidance" -- I will try to post this soon, for anyone who can help spread the word.
Quoting Monty, from the wall of text:
I'm not sure how to assign even back-of-the-envelope numbers to this: it means that the population can theoretically bounce back rapidly from a small population to a large one, particularly since they have a short lifetime to reproductive age. However, it also means that removing adults or near-adults from the breeding population can have a very rapid impact on the reproductive capacity of the whole species, and also narrows the gene pool. One thing I'm pretty sure it means is that collection of hatchlings is much less likely to have an impact on the wild population than collection of adults, since the survival rate for a hatchling is very low anyway..
There is an emerging branch of mathematical ecology attempting to answer exactly these sorts of questions. From memory I think its called elasticity analyses. Basically all the population parametres (hatching success, mortaility in each year or each month, probability of surviving to reproductive age, probability of reproducing given survival to maturity etc.) are plugged into a model and it outputs those factors that will have the greatest impact on survival and population growth. The downside is that they require at least ball-park knowledge of each parametre, something which I imagine is lacking for many cephs.
However I think there are some papers out there comparing r and k selection strategies (in fish, I suspect) and elasticities of adult versus juvenile mortality. Although there's no substitute for knowledge of the species at hand, we can make some good guesses using data for animals with similar life histories.
I think somewhere there is an excellent example analysis on whales (extreme k-selected), that shows a population crash 20-30 years after high juvenile mortality. Slightly OT, but interesting stuff. (if you're a massive nerd like me, that is...)
Being an experienced and responsible Ceph owner for many years, I feel I want to "rescue" animals I see for sale cause I know with me they have a fighting chance of living a good life in captivity. I think that is an awesome idea educating your LFS about Tonmo and directing future ceph owners here for guidance.
Having a TONMO.com brochure or flyer is a good idea. I've even thought of business card with the TONMO name and website address on it that could be given to ceph purchasers. If material like this was printable at home, we could print out copies and distribute them locally. Might give us a chance to talk with the LFS owner, too.
Even when given our website address, not all octo purchasers bother to log on, unfortunately.
Greg, what species are they importing, and from which areas?
I know of two LFSs in the Dallas area that want to move in the direction of the rare and exotic (fish and other inverts, as well as cephs), so this might be a trend.
I think a flyer is a good idea, I think it would be even better with a bunch of facts on it. I also think trying to make relationships with the online saltwater communities might be a good idea - many aren't really going to want to send people to TONMO, but its worth a shot. I am an admin on reefs.dot org, and could prolly get a ceph forum started with a post with a link to tonmo and I think it would be easier to get with a reciprocal link and reciprocal forum.
Also, connecting with the online sellers of cephs and having them put a link to TONMO with there cephs for sale might be good too.
The downside is that most stores or sites that are selling cephs are not going to want to be connected to any site that says 'don't by a ceph' because they want to sell cephs. Wonderpus gets even stickier - Atlantis isn't going to want to link to us because they sell most of the wunderpus in this area.
Nancy - the cephs are mostly coming from indo, but they are coming from just about any place that has cephs.