Coral reef organisms & the aquarium trade

James C. Hendee hendee at
Tue Mar 5 08:25:11 EST 1996

On Mon, 4 Mar 1996, JENNIFER WHEELER wrote: 

[ first and last parts deleted... ] 

> How feasible Is mariculture to produce organisms for export? 
> What are the implications (biological and financial) of the above  
> approaches as compared to unregulated harvest? 

To my mind, this is the best long-range solution, but with an initial high 
price tag.  As a former mariculturist of marine fishes, invertebrates and 
plants (macro and micro), I can testify that it is possible to raise many 
(but not all) of the species of value to the aquarium trade at this time.  
If a developing nation wants to adopt this strategy, it will have to:  

	a) Be prepared to invest "substantial" (i.e., hundreds of 
thousands to a million dollars) into basic research into the life cycle 
and disease etiology of new species it wants to culture and export; 

	b) Be prepared both financially and emotionally (!) to lose all of 
its cultured stocks overnight to disease, human error or natural 
catastrophes (e.g., storms), then start over again;  

	c) Hire the best and most experienced mariculturists it can.  
There are some basic precepts of mariculture that just can not be 
violated, and I have seen untrained culturists re-invent a tool or 
approach that doesn't work, and result in the demise of the operation.   
It's the same old adage--"You get what you pay for."  You can hire  
"bargain" personnel, only to be wiped out later because of a rudimentary  

	Hope this helps. 

	Jim Hendee 

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