In August, 2010, we reported that Proaquatix would be the worldwide distributor for Marcel Triessl’s Albino Ocellaris Clownfish. Designer Clownfish enthusiasts were salivating and hoping for a short wait. Sadly, governmental regulations in South Africa have been holding up the process of exportation as recently reported by Marcel, who wrote, “Here in South Africa growing algae, cultivating plankton, propagating corals and breeding marine ornamental fish is illegal. Believe it or not. No export permit will be issued for captive bred fish without having an aquaculture permit.” To us, this isn’t actually surprising, just a case of “growing pains” as a hobbyist breeder steps into the commercial and export realm where government regulations really start to play a role. In this case it would seem that Marcel’s efforts to export Albino Clownfish are actually being thwarted by regulations designed for the foodfish industry.
“When the aquaculture application form was created, nobody thought of marine ornamentals. The whole application form is made for food fish farming, etc. I spoke to somebody who is running a foodfish farm…it took him 8 years to get his permits.” posted Marcel. We can only hope that the South African government sees the value in the ornamental fish trade and green-lights Marcel’s efforts to export these fish and distribute them through Proaquatix. Some fish breeders believe that on average you’ll get a random albino out of only 200,000 to 300,000 fish reared. If it takes 8 years for Marcel’s fish to travel abroad, we could see Albino Ocellaris appear elsewhere before he’s able to capitalize on his innovation and investment. Marcel hopes that the paperwork will be completed by February of this year…and then it’s in the hands of the South African government. Good luck to both Marcel and Proaquatix as they continue their efforts to bring Albino Clownfish to the masses.