Why wild betta fish populations are decreasing in South East Asia

Jul 18, 2020 at 11:56 PM by Elie

Some of you might know about betta fish or even might have had your own at home. Typically, people will keep Betta splendens, which are commonly found in most pet stores. But there exists a huge variety of betta species (see: https://www.keepingfish.com/wild-betta-fish/), many of which are currently endangered. This is primarily due to changes being made in their natural habitat of South East Asia and excessive fish trade. These fish typically live in shallow waters, in rice fields and forest swamps. However, deforestation and water population is greatly contributing to their decrease in population. The betta albimarginata, for example, is currently classified as endangered according to IUCN ( https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/91307122/91307128) but continues to be heavily traded in the fishkeeping hobby.  As these species become rarer and therefore more lucrative in business, breeders and traders from countries like Indonesia and Thailand further contribute to the descent of wild betta fish. 

I think it's an important issue to bring forth. All things considered, its a tragedy whenever a species becomes extinct. However, when we consider how fish are being treated throughout the world, we see that nothing is being done to remedy the situation. This is also the case in countries like Brazil, whose creation of dams and deforestation is set to completely eradicate hundreds of species of fish.

When we discuss these issues, it's really hard to imagine how we can make things better. There are many aquarists now, who focus on "sustainable" fishkeeper, and who can take a part in the conservation work that needs to be done.

1 Reply

Jul 19, 2020 at 12:01 AM

If you'd like to see more about the topic of fish conservation in the fishkeeping hobby, I found this article:

The author discusses with Rachel O'Leary, who is perhaps within the hobby, the most vocal on the topic of sustainable fish keeping.