The ornamental marine fish culture, while very valuable to us aquarists, is typically viewed as unimportant to the world. The primary concern of the world is NOT putting fish in people’s aquariums, but instead, putting fish into people’s stomachs. When speaking on the topic of breeding marine fish, one of the points I always stress is that it largely falls to the hobbyist to help make the next advancements in marine fish propagation. Academic and governmental funding is relatively nonexistent.
So I find myself needing to make my first Reefbuilder’s contribution on the topic of marine fish breeding one of congratulations to Søren Hansen of Sea & Reef Aquaculture in Maine for snagging up some serious grant money. The online annoucement was made this April in the University of Maine’s UMaine Today Magazine.
Some of these figures are actually quite surprising. Most recently, Sea & Reef received a $200,000 development award from the Maine Technology Institute” which is reported to fund a move to a newly renovated 12,000 square foot facility. But this isn’t Hansen’s first big money grab. Last year, Sea & Reef received an $80,000 USDA Small Business Innovation Research Phase I award. I believe this governmental funding is being put to use to find BETTER ways to rear the Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula). It sounds like Hansen is already planning to apply for another $400,000 in funding next year if things go well.
This is indeed an exciting time for the commercial Marine Fish Aquaculture Industry. C-Quest and ORA continue to make strides in producing new “designer” clowns which are commonly thought to provide the financial backbone for other less profitable species, including the difficult to culture Mandarins (Synchiropus splendidus and S. picturatus). Sustainable Aquatics continues to push the envelop both with their tank-reared juvenile revival as well as their own in house breeding programs (since I don’t have Matt Carberry’s permission, I’ll refrain from sharing at least one thing they’re working on). And now we have Sea & Reef Aquaculture.
Sea & Reef only recently came to my attention for their designer clownfish. It started with their release of “Maine Blizzard” Clownfish (what I believe is a recurrence of the Platinum variation in Percula and have heard through secondhand information is the progeny of a Regular Percula X Picasso Percula), coming only months after the release of ORA’s Platinum Percula. Sea & Reef has already been well known in the Northeast producing “Mocha” Clownfish, which is the cross of a regular Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) and the Black or Darwin Variation of Ocellaris.
We’ll set aside any other opinions or assertions and simply offer the following – CONGRATULATIONS Søren. Now make us all proud and do some amazing things with that $200,000. And while you’re at it, be sure to quickly publish the results of your USDA-funded research on Flame Angelfish culture – we’re truly eager to learn what you accomplished with our tax dollars!
Be sure to visit the University of Maine’s full article at http://www.umaine.edu/magazine/past-issues/spring-2010/online-april-2010/online-exclusives/3/