Our Vision

We catalyze change for coral reefs and their wildlife, enhance the beauty and wellbeing of these threatened rainforests of the sea, and ensure a future where reefs and wildlife are protected for the benefit of all.

Our goals are to:

  • Reduce the needless death and suffering for coral reef wildlife,
  • Enhance legal protection for coral reef wildlife, and
  • Increase, restore and protect wild fish populations and coral reef habitat.

Our solution includes consumer and enforcement-directed efforts at the local, national and global levels that have facilitated positive changes at the fishery, distribution, policy and consumer levels.

Education and outreach

Increasing consumer awareness about the issues surrounding coral reef wildlife use in hobby and display aquariums to reduce demand for these imperiled species.

Key Accomplishments

Created the award-winning mobile app Tank Watch. Tank Watch is a Prize Winner in the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, a global initiative of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with National Geographic, Smithsonian Institution, and TRAFFIC.

We’ve educated over 600 individuals in Hawaii on the impacts of the aquarium trade in meetings, presentations and events, statewide resulting in support for a ban on the aquarium trade from Hawaii’s Environmental Council and the Hawaii Office of Environmental Quality Control.

For education and outreach materials, click here


Prompting action by government officials and businesses to end the commercial capture and keeping of coral reef wildlife through research, negotiation and legal action.

Key Accomplishments

Negotiated a commitment from Nordstrom department stores to stop keeping coral reef wildlife captive in their 83 saltwater display aquariums nationwide. Nordstrom agreed to either switch to virtual aquariums, like UNtanked, or to 100% captive-bred fish in any freshwater or saltwater aquariums they may keep.

In Hawaii we prompted action by local governing bodies, including strong resolutions urging a statewide end to the commercial apture of reef fish for the global aquarium hobby and two pieces of landmark legislation that essentially ended the trade in Maui County. To learn more about our work in Hawaii, click here.

Lawsuit on the environmental harm of the aquarium fish trade in Hawaii will be heard by the Hawai`i Supreme Court in March 2017 Click here to learn more


Conduct scientific research on the harmful impacts of the aquarium trade

Key Accomplishments

We conducted research assessing the prevalence of cyanide-caught fish in the US marine aquarium trade and confirmed the widespread and illegal use of cyanide in the international trade that captures fish for household and other aquariums. We presented the initial findings in June 2016 at the International Coral Reef Symposium and expect a peer-review and publication of the work by mid-2017.


Rene Umberger, FTF’s founder and current Executive Director, works full time to provide leadership to FTF and to all elements of the organization’s activities.  In 2010, she spearheaded the passage of two Maui County wildlife protection initiatives that established the strongest protections yet in Hawaii.

For The Fishes board members:

Dr Lynn Allen: Dr. Allen has been passionate about the ocean for more than 55 years. She moved to Hawaii from California in 1995, became a SCUBA instructor and underwater photographer. She has made over 3,000 dives photographing wildlife on coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific. She earned a PhD in tumor cell biology from the University of Southern California before working in the biomedical field. Her expertise in academic medical research and development, knowledge of cellular biology and dive experience are key components of For The Fishes’s growth and success in such a short time.

Mark Schacht: Mr. Schacht is a dive master and accomplished underwater videographer. In 2015, he developed a video survey that documented the unprecedented coral bleaching that occurred in Hawaii’s reefs that year. He brings legislative savvy to the For The Fishes Board through his position as the Deputy Director and Legislative Director of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.

Dr. Brooke Porter: Dr. Porter is a consultant to research entities with specific emphasis on marine conservation and development projects in under-developed countries. She serves as a Scientific Advisor for Coral Triangle Conservancy in the Philippines and has experience as a peer reviewer for multiple professional journals. Her research interests bring crucial expertise and knowledge to For The Fishes. They include the human dimensions of the marine environment, emphasizing coastal and marine tourism, and work with international marine conservation collaborations, aide agencies and educational institutions.

Linda Wright: Ms. Wright divides her time between New Zealand and San Francisco. In New Zealand, she is semi-retired and building a home. In San Francisco, she runs a business restoring antique furniture. Her superb planning skills and keen attention to detail, provides a critical contribution to all that For The Fishes accomplishes.


Rene Umberger, Executive Director

For the Fishes 
P.O. Box 1894
Kihei, HI   96753