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MAC News Bulletin Reprint
Dateline: 10/01/99
Certifying Quality and Sustainability in the Marine Ornamentals Industry

MAC News - 3rd Quarter 1999 Report

In this third issue of MAC News we are pleased to introduce you to the MAC Board of Directors and report on the outcomes of the MAC Strategic Planing Workshop, especially the MAC Mission and proposed timeline for certification development. We hope to see many of you at the MAC certification workshops at Marine Ornamentals '99 in Hawaii.

MAC Mission Set by Strategic Planning Workshop
The MAC Board and several other key stake holders met for 3 days in September to hammer out the following MAC mission statement and a strategic plan for certification development. The Mission of the Marine Aquarium Council is to conserve coral reefs by creating standards and educating and certifying those engaged in the collection and care of ornamental marinelife from reef to aquarium.

The Marine Aquarium Council - MAC - is implementing its Mission by:

  • Establishing independent certification process for those in the industry that meet best practice standards.
  • Raising public awareness of the role of the marine aquarium industry and hobby in conserving coral reefs.
  • Assembling and disseminating accurate data relevant to the collection and care of ornamental marinelife.
  • Promoting the sustainable use of coral reefs though the responsible collection of ornamental marinelife.
  • Ensuring the health and quality of marinelife during transport.
  • Encouraging responsible husbandry by the industry and hobby through education and training.
Certification Timetable Proposed
The Strategic Planing Workshop proposed an ambitious timeline for certification. Working groups are now being established to finalize the standards for best practices. A full, working version of the certification system is to be tested by key partners in the collection and trade and made available to the marine ornamentals industry as a whole by mid-2000.

Following this point, there will be a period of about 6 months for MAC to undertake all reasonable efforts to make information and training on certification available to operators in all parts of the chain of custody. In parallel, we will step up our awareness raising with hobbyists and public aquariums. During this period, industry operators - from collection to retail - will be encouraged to become audited for initial certification so that they will be ready and able to supply certified aquarium organisms when certification "goes public".

MAC Outreach and Networking
Over 600 people and organizations from 40 countries are now part of the MAC Network and are regularly receiving the MAC News via the e-mail list - with new "subscriptions" coming in at an ever increasing rate.

MAC is increasingly recognized as the global voice for sustainability in the marine ornamentals industry and we are being asked to inform important groups about certification. In addition to making a plenary presentation to 1999 MACNA (Marine Aquarium Conference of North America), I convened informal MAC forum on certification and labeling for the hobby and industry during two half-day sessions at MACNA. The forum was very well attended, with lively discussion among wholesalers, retailers, and hobbyists on the roles and responsibilities of industry and hobbyists and how certification will work. In the past 3 months we also made presentations and undertook networking at the Annual Conference of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, at the International Hawaii Air Cargo Symposium and with most of the major aquarium fish importers in California.

Meet the MAC Board of Directors
The MAC Board is representative of the wide range of stakeholders concerned with the future of the marine ornamentals trade and the habitat and organisms it is based on. The Board provides leadership, commitment and direction to certification development and is designed to ensure that there is a predominance of environment and public interest members. We are seeking to expand the Board to include broader geographic participation from those representing collector and environmental concerns, especially in developing countries.

The current MAC Board members and their affiliations are:

  • Bruce Bunting, World Wildlife Fund
  • Keith Davenport, Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association
  • John Dawes, Ornamental Fish International
  • Dennis Gallagher, Marine Aquarium Societies of North America
  • Nancy MacKinnon, The Nature Conservancy
  • Marshall Meyers, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
  • Vaughan Pratt, International Marinelife Alliance-Philippines
  • Phil Shane, Quality Marine Inc.
  • Dennis Thoney, American Zoos and Aquariums Association
  • Lolita Ty, Philippine Tropical Fish Exporters Association
  • Tom White, American Marinelife Dealers Association
MAC Certification Workshops at Marine Ornamentals '99
MO '99 (Hawaii, 17-20 Nov 1999) has rapidly shaped up to be a significant industry and hobby event. For conference information: www.soest.hawaii.edu/SEAGRANT/marine_ornamentals99/

The impressive list of keynote speakers includes many MAC Board and Network members. Of particular importance is the opportunity for you to provide your input to certification development at MO '99 through the MAC-organized panel/round table sessions on:

  • Certifying Water Quality and Husbandry: What are Best Practice Standards?
  • Certifying Cultured Organisms: What are the Best Practice Standards?
  • Certifying Live Coral and Live Rock Collection: What are the Best Practice Standards?
  • Certifying Fish and Invertebrate Collection: What are the Best Practice Standards?
  • Trade Data and Information: What do we need to know and how do we get it?
Paul Holthus, Executive Director
Marine Aquarium Council
3035 Hibiscus Dr.
Honolulu, Hawaii USA 96815
Phone: (808) 923-3254 Fax: (808) 923-6023
Email: paul.holthus@aquariumcouncil.org



MAC News reprint permission from
Paul Holthus, Executive Director
Marine Aquarium Council

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