Vlaming’s Unicornfish at Angel Reef in the Indian Ocean, Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Photo by Robert Wintner

A sneak preview of the movie The Dark Hobby, All The Pretty Fishes and the Price Paid to Tank Them, presented by The Snorkel Bob Foundation and Paradise Filmworks International, will be shown to Hawai‘i audiences only, prior to worldwide distribution, at the Courtyard by Marriott at Coconut Beach in Kapa‘a this Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Dark Hobby is a world-class production with a top-tier crew behind it,” said Robert Wintner, widely known as Snorkel Bob in Hawai‘i. He added the movie was already shown on Maui and on the Big Island, and it got much praise and gratitude from the audience.

A sample from Dragon Walk, The Movie, will follow the feature film. Both films were shot on location in Hawai‘i, Indonesia and the Philippines. Tickets are $20 at the door, and $10 for 18 and under. All proceeds from ticket sales benefit the campaign to end aquarium collecting in Hawai‘i.

“The Dark Hobby, All The Pretty Fishes and The Price Paid to Tank Them” is a work-in-progress reef documentary on the three hubs of aquarium extraction — Indonesia, the Philippines and mostly Hawai‘i. Controversy continues with aquarium collectors still working Hawai‘i reefs in violation of a Hawai‘i Supreme Court ruling. Aquarium plunder and consequence is documented, as aquarium collectors blame reef decimation on global warming and pollution. Reef stewardship in The Reef State is in the balance. “The Dark Hobby” presents the pros and cons from both sides of the argument, commercial vs. conservation, and it runs on 75 minutes.

Cowfish. Photo by Robert Wintner

“This movie is red-hot spot-on great, putting the best production, editing, camera and audio crew LA has to offer on a beautiful campaign,” Wintner said.

Dragon Walk, The Movie, was also filmed on location in the Philippines, Indonesia and Hawai‘i. It depicts reef life in optimal conditions, where no commercial extraction occurs. This will be a 20-minute sample.

The Hawaiian Islands host many exotic fish species, and some of the most beautiful are now on the verge of extinction. Conservationists, scientists, aquarium fish collectors and breeders are locked in a controversy over the stunning “treasure of Hawai‘i” — the ornamental fish.

The Hawai‘i aquarium trade has been catching reef fish for U.S. and global hobby tanks for decades. There have been no catch limits, no limit on the number of catchers, and no constraints on rare, endemic or vanishing species. Fish advocates report that the number of fish has decreased drastically, decimating Hawai‘i reefs, and that taking fish from their natural habitat should be halted entirely.

Reef-based tourism generates hundreds of millions in Hawai‘i annually, and many Hawai‘i residents want aquarium collecting banned.

Others make their living from catching and supplying exotic fish to hobbyists, and still others breed fish in captivity to fill U.S. and global demand.

Anemone Crab. Photo by Robert Wintner

The lucrative trade who depend on reef wildlife to populate the tanks, and to drive sales of tanks and paraphernalia resist any change to the supply chain of reef wildlife caught in the reef.

The Dark Hobby is an entertaining expose on this crisis, and the ongoing political struggle. At any given moment, 28 million fish are in the aquarium trade pipeline from point of capture to home hobbyist tank.

They represent more than 1,800 species, and many die within a year of capture, generating even more demand.

Our understanding of the hierarchy of fish living on the reef is increasing. Current scientific research reveals that fish have much greater intelligence than previously known, including recognizing human faces, feeling pain and making plans. The search for solutions continues. Will the fish be protected?

Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/350896888766769/ for more information on the movie screening, and thedarkhobby.com for more information on the movie.