Mortality in the Ornamental Fish Retail Sector: an Analysis of Stock Losses and Stakeholder Opinions
Smith, Lucy Anna
ABSTRACT\ud The ornamental fish trade is a growing trade sector that has a number of stakeholders that form the supply chain. Stock loss has been highlighted as a concern in relation to the sustainable growth of the industry and welfare concerns. To investigate the issues surrounding stock loss and its extent within the ornamental fish trade, a mixed method approach was used. Specifically, the factors that affect stock loss were identified and the relation to care taken by retail staff (n=40) and consumers (n=110) were investigated. Direct occurrence of stock loss was also assessed – that was collated from 13 stores for the marine sample and 19 stores for the tropical sample – and stock loss within the tropical freshwater fish sample (n=32,204) was 5% compared with the marine sample (n=1004) that had 9% loss of stock. However, stock loss did vary in relation to species-specific stock loss, store-specific stock loss and care-category specific stock loss. The origin of stock, wild-caught v captive-bred, influenced the degree of losses. For marine fish, 10% of wild stock was lost compared with 8% for captive-bred stock. In contrast, tropical freshwater fish suffered 6% stock loss for captive-bred stock compared with only 3% for wild-caught stock. Binary logistic regression analysis found that all 11 variables influenced stock loss, although this varied based on species, store, care category and whether the sample was of marine or tropical freshwater ornamental fish. In terms of care, a number of classification systems were identified in the consumer and retail questionnaires, along with a survey of 15 web sites. Twenty-one terms were found in use, however 62% of retail staff did not use a care-level classification system when making recommendations. However, the majority of retail staff stated that in-house training was provided and rated their own as understanding and that of their colleagues as good or very good. The consumer questionnaire highlighted that care classification did influence consumers’ decision to purchase, with high-care classifications having a negative correlation. The majority of consumer respondents stated that visiting ornamental fish retails was the most common method of purchasing ornamental fish. Stock loss within the sample was found to have the ability to range from 0% loss to 100% occurrence. It is recommended that the industry works to standardise staff training within stores, and that greater consideration should be given to the individual needs of ornamental fish and how this can influence stock loss.