Contact for this survey: Liz Marchio;

Private breeders, responding to market forces, are responsible for a surprising amount of conservation of endangered exotic species occurring within the United States. Tropical birds, African ungulates, and marine fish are being raised to provide animals for pets and wild game hunting.  These private actions can play a critical role in biodiversity protection, supplementing conservation in native habitats and zoos. Breeders who are active in these markets, however, have often complained that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) can create obstacles that make breeding uneconomic, actually increasing the likelihood of extinction. In this paper we consider the conditions in which ESA and ESA-like regulations can have perverse impacts, harming prospects for ex-situ conservation without meaningfully impacting wild animal populations.

Motivation and Three Cases:
The paper is motivated by three cases (hyacinth macaw, antelope, clownfish)  in which breeders play a role in protecting endangered species, but the economic viability of those enterprises is threatened by proposed or existing policy.

What you can do:
If you are willing to share information on these topics, please fill out this document with as much information as you can. If you are unwilling to share the data, please report that. It is understandable that some people may not want to share their secrets to success, but hopefully these are fairly benign questions.

If you feel you want to answer “it depends” to any of the questions, please consider explaining the circumstances for each side.

The information you provide will be used to create an economic model that, in turn, will start a few publications on the complex nature of the ESA and captive populations of fish bred by aquarists.

 If you would like an acknowledgement in any publications that come from this work, please e-mail me at

Thank you!

* 1. As a breeder do you have a preference for wild or captive breeding stock?

* 2. What is the number of breeding pairs you maintain? Number of sellable babies raised per breeding pair?

* 3. What number of fish do you keep per tank size (e.g. 1 pair per 20g high; 50 1 month old juveniles )? 

* 4. As a breeder, do you buy breeding stock from the cheapest market regardless of wild or captive?

* 5. If you lose a breeder, where do you get a new breeder (wild? captive?)?

* 6. With a minimal operation, how much money can someone make from breeding clownfish?

* 7. How many breeding pairs would you estimate in a minimal operation?

* 8. What price do you ask for each fish if a hobbyist wants to buy vs. selling to a shop/wholesale?

* 9. Do your buyers strive to buy clownfish from the cheapest market? Do you think buyers have a preference for wild or captive?

* 10. What were the start-up costs of setting up a breeding program (include fish, equipment, energy)?