Clownfish breeding is big business here in the US, however in areas like Papua New Guinea where harvesting from the reef itself is the norm, it is an entirely new ballgame. A recent project between Australian and Papua New Guinea scientists is hoping to create a new sustainable fishery and captive breeding in PNG to preserve marine life from the demand for aquarium fish.
Although this is not entirely new ground as projects like Seasmart or EcoAquarium PNG have worked to bring sustainable programs to the country in the past. This program from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) mariculture development in PNG’s New Ireland province has been developing hatcheries for sea cucumbers and oysters, among other species, as part of its training facility for PNG fisheries workers.
Some of the other parts of this program is looking into coral propagation, giant clam culturing and captive-bred ornamental fish breeding to promote a long-term, sustainable aquarium industry in the country. The program is looking towards breeding clownfish to start due to the relative simplicity in rearing this popular fish. Another huge consideration is being close to naturally occurring and rare clownfish species such as the White Bonnet clownfish (Amphirpion leucokranos).
This program is still in the research phase as the team is looking to develop low technology techniques for breeding the clownfish on location in PNG as well as working on maintaining sustainable harvest practices. If you are curious to see what researcher Thane Militz and team are up to on the project, make sure to head over to their Facebook Page.
[via Radio Australia]