Stop Importing Tropical Fish Captured With Cyanide

Target: Commissioner of U.S. Customs R. Gil Kerlikowske

Goal: Stop the import of tropical fish that were illegally caught using cyanide.

Cyanide is a highly toxic chemical which fish collectors often use to paralyze and capture tropical fish. It is illegal to capture fish with cyanide, but National Geographic recently revealed that up to 90 percent of the tropical fish imported to the United States every year are caught using this illegal method.

Catching tropical fish to sell them to pet stores is an extremely lucrative business. Fish collectors use cyanide because it is much easier for them to catch the fish when the fish are stunned. However, spraying fish with cyanide is cruel, and it is extremely harmful to the environment. When they are sprayed with cyanide, the fish become paralyzed and cannot breathe. Many of the fish that do not immediately die from cyanide poisoning die while they are being transported. In addition, cyanide destroys the coral in the reefs where the fish are caught. Once the coral dies, all the other creatures in the coral reef ecosystem cannot survive.

Cyanide fishing is illegal in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia—countries where tropical fish are most often captured. The United States forbids the import of any wildlife which was caught in other countries illegally, but the United States currently is not enforcing the laws against cyanide fishing. Sign the petition below to demand that this horrific practice ends.


Dear Mr. Kerlikowske,

The United States must stop importers from bringing tropical fish that were captured with cyanide into this country. Between 70 and 90 percent of the tropical fish that are imported to the United States every year are captured using cyanide.

Cyanide fishing is cruel to the animals, and destroys the coral reefs which serve as habitats for countless species of ocean wildlife. Cyanide fishing is illegal, and yet the United States is not enforcing the law against it. As one of the largest importers of tropical fish, the United States must take a stand and refuse to import fish that were caught using this horrendous practice.

I am urging you to conduct tests on all tropical fish that importers want to bring into this country, and refuse to accept any that are found to have been captured with cyanide. Furthermore, I urge you to revoke the import permits of any importers who attempt to bring illegally captured tropical fish into the United States, and see that they face appropriate punishment for their crime.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Pixabay

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