Guy Harvey Magazine

FALL 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 37 of 83

38 | You may not have thought much about where the fish in aquariums (like the dentist's, or perhaps yours) come from, or you might be thinking: don't all fish come from Fish-o-Ramas? Yes. But you might be surprised to learn that while 95% of freshwater aquarium fish are bred and raised in an aquaculture setting, about 95% of saltwater species are still collected from reefs. The yellow Hawaiian tang fish, like Bubbles, is one of the most sought-after aquarium species in the world, with over 300,000 taken from Hawaiian waters each year. Yellow tangs and most all the colorful marine aquarium fish are caught on coral reefs, which are already stressed from over-exploitation, ocean-acidification, predation, bleaching and pollution. It's no secret that the impacts of wild marine fish collection can be irreparable to both the long-term survivability of marine fish and the habitats in which they live. If 95% of freshwater species can be aquacultured, why not saltwater species? There are challenges in the marine environment that don't exist in freshwater, and the science is relatively new. Until very recently, little was known about the egg production, larval rearing and live feeding of yellow tang, blue tang, clown fish and other highly popular ornamental reef fish. Take yellow tang, for instance—the larvae are microscopic and the foods they eat are even smaller. Their life cycle is much more complex. In the ocean, thousands of eggs are deposited along the reef and the larvae drift with the current, picking up sustenance along the way, for a period of one to three months until they develop a tail and the ability to swim. Try recreating that scenario in a lab! Some members of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) have had success in the past with breeding marine fish species, but they haven't had consistent and measurable success that offers a long-term solution to the negative impacts on marine fish collection from the wild. It's taken over 20 years of research and collaboration to get to where the marine aquaculture industry is today. In 2001, researchers and scientists at the Oceanic Institute (OI) at Hawaii Pacific University began focusing on yellow tang breeding to begin raising the species through aquaculture. In 2009, under the direction of Judy St. Leger, DVM, the director of Pathology & Research at SeaWorld, a new initiative was developed called the Rising Tide Conservation. Dr. St. Leger knew that because of the many challenges that existed for marine aquaculture science, a collaborative effort would have to be established for long-term success. Rising Tide Conservation's mission was threefold: to minimize long-term impact on marine fish collection, to provide public education and understanding of marine conservation through public display (aquariums), and to ensure that the breeding and rearing of tropical fish would be economically viable. Rising Tide's role would include research, information sharing and best practices. They began to collaborate with OI on the yellow Hawaiian tang project. It took 14 years of tireless research, wins and losses, and trial and error, but in 2015, that team of researchers at OI become the first in the world to successfully It's taken over 20 years of research and collaboration to get to where the marine aquaculture industry is today. This juvenile Potter's angelfish was farm raised for aquariums rather than extracted from nature. Photo courtesy of Rising Tide Conservation.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Guy Harvey Magazine - FALL 2017