Domestication level of the most popular aquarium fish species: is the aquarium trade dependent on wild populations?
Aquarium fish trade has strongly increased in the past decades to become one of the most popular hobbies globally. Historically, all aquarium fish traded were wild-caught. Then, an increasing number of fish species have been produced in captivity. The main goal of the present study is to apply the concept of domestication level to the hundred most popular aquarium fish species in Europe and North America. The levels of domestication of freshwater aquarium fish species (n = 50) ranged from 0 to 5, with 20 species classified at the level 5 (selective breeding programmes are used focusing on specific goals) and only three species at the level 0 (capture fisheries) and 1 (first trials of acclimatization to the culture environment). In contrast, the levels of domestication of marine fish species (n = 50) ranged from 0 to 3, implying that the production of all marine aquarium fish species is based either entirely or partly on the capture of wild-caught specimens. Based on this new classification, the main advantages and drawbacks of fisheries and aquaculture are discussed.