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The exciting breeding work of Rising Tide Conservation

By Leonard Ho - Posted Dec 06, 2011 09:00 AM
The Rising Tide Conservation is a cooperative initiative between public aquariums, hobbyists, academia, and businesses working together to breed and raise tropical marine fish on a large scale. The program has already found success breeding Koran Angels and Lancer Dragonets et al., has made great progress with Bannerfish, and are even working on breeding Yellow Tangs!
The exciting breeding work of Rising Tide Conservation

Director of the Tropical Aquaculture Lab, Craig Watson, inspecting newly arrived yellow tangs with biologist Christine Creamer.

The Future of Tropical Marine Fish

From porkfish (Anisotremus virginicus) to lancer dragonet (Callionymus bairdi) to their latest success with Koran angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus), Rising Tide Conservation has made huge strides in a short time, demonstrating what a concerted collaborative effort can achieve.  The University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Lab recently came close to breeding and raising Schooling Bannerfish (Heniochus diphreutes) for the first time, having raised larvae to 41 days post hatch before they died.  Just four days ago, the team received another shipment of Heniochus diphreutes and orange shoulder tang (Acanthurus olivaceus) eggs which have already hatched (watch the video of their first feeding). Let's keep our fingers crossed!  And with Hawaii's fisheries making big news this year, it's exciting to learn the team also received a shipment of 21 yellow tangs (Zebrasoma flavescens) last week, which they hope will someday become the first successful broodstock for captive bred yellow tangs in 2012!

This is what a yellow tang larvae looks like!
This is what a yellow tang larvae looks like!

The goal of Rising Tide Conservation is to encourage captive propagation of marine species on a large scale by:

  • Establishing channels for exchanging information about
  • Raising money to fund aquaculture initiatives. These initiatives are to develop ways to breed and raise fish that can be implemented in aquaculture. In the future we plan to include tropical fish hobbyists from across the country in these initiatives.

Judy St. Leger, DVM, DACVP, Director of Pathology and Research for SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, summarizes the scope and work of Rising Tide Conservation:

Rising Tide Conservation was initiated by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment in 2009 and the program is dedicated toward making breeding and rearing of marine tropical fish economically viable so that there are alternatives to collection.  It quickly expanded from a program focused on breeding and rearing fish in display facilities to one focused on integrating efforts of display aquaria, the hobbyist industry, and academia to create a platform for the promotion and dissemination of information related to marine tropical fish aquaculture.  We will do this by promoting research to solve specific problems in marine fish propagation that have challenged the aquatics community for a long time.  Large scale tropical marine fish aquaculture has been held back by four specific hurdles: difficulty in egg production, difficulty in larval rearing, use and production of an appropriate live feed, and most importantly, the difficulty in clearing these hurdles in an economically viable manner.   Transfer of capabilities identified in this program to commercial producers is critical for the success of this initiative.

To borrow the expression from Dana Riddle:

BANZAI!


Bravo to all participants of Rising Tide Conservation!  In particular, we would like to highlight the marine ornamental team at University of Florida's Tropical Aquaculture Lab, Dr. Matt Wittenrich, Eric Cassiano, and Christine Creamer for their huge research contributions to the initiative.

Advanced Aquarist wishes everyone involved in Rising Tide Conservation continued success and looks forward to watching your progress.  We are all witnesses to history in action and what we hope will be a seismic shift for the future of our hobby.

Visit Rising Tide Conservation's website to learn more about the initiative or to donate funding to this noble effort; Businesses should strongly consider sponsoring them.  Follow their blog to stay informed on the latest developments.  These are truly exciting times for marine aquarists and coral reef lovers.

Some of the impressive body of work for the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Lab
Some of the impressive body of work for the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Lab

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.

Website: http://www.advancedaquarist.com.

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