Oceanic Institute’s Worthy Mission & New Life Spectrum®
They’re on a roll. The Ocean Institute at Hawai’i Pacific University in conjunction with the non-profit Rising Tide Conservation has successfully cultivated the Potter’s Angelfish. While this particular fish isn’t considered under threat, it’s a proof of concept species. Breeding these proves it can be done with Angelfish varieties under greater pressure. You can find out more here.
This isn’t the first time Ocean Institute has made waves in the aquarium industry lately. Late last year, their program successfully cultivated domestic Yellow Tangs. This was a big deal. Yellow Tangs are among the most in-demand and harvested marine aquarium fish. This demand did put pressure on the environment. Tangs and Surgeonfish are notoriously difficult to maintain — let alone breed — in artificial environments. This is the first time a member of the Acanthuridae family has been verifiably and reliably bred in captivity. More information is available here.
We’re very proud to participate in Oceanic Institute’s efforts. We believe in their approach. They focus on a practical solution to reducing environmental pressure: breeding in-demand marine aquarium fish that before could only be wild-harvested.
This is far better than trying to “abolish” aquariums. For one thing, people protect what they love. The aquarium hobby sparks an interest in underwater life in all ages, fostering concern for the marine environment. Responsible and sustainable collection of marine aquarium fish, along with ecotourism, also provides incentive in developing nations (home to a significant number of rich reef systems) to preserve their coral reefs as a resource. The issue isn’t collection per se, but over-harvesting of high-demand species. Breakthroughs like those from the Oceanic Institute have the potential to blunt this demand and relieve the pressure.
By providing nutritionally complete New Life Spectrum® diets for the Oceanic Institute’s stock, we are proud to be helping in some small way. Supporting fish’s health through high-quality nutrition has always been our way to encourage responsible fishkeeping: lower fish mortality means fewer replacement fish and less collection pressure. For the Oceanic Institute, our hope is that Spectrum can keep mortality low, encourage breeding vigor and support fish larva growth.
As for the details, the Potter’s Angelfish (Centropyge potteri) breeding is credited to Avier J. Montalvo, an aquarist who received his B.S. from Texas A&M University. Mr. Montalvo recently joined the Oceanic Institute and Rising Tide Conservation team.
The breeding of the Yellow Tangs was achieved by the Fin Fish Department of the Oceanic Institue of Hawai’i Pacific University, following similar efforts with Zebra Tang. The team includes Dr. Chatham K. Callan, Dr. Charles Laidley, Melissa Rietfors, Michael Dean Kline and Eric Martinson. The first shipment of juveniles went to SeaWorld, a supporter of Rising Tide’s program, October of last year.
Other good news is that this may just be the beginning. Work is continuing on these fronts with more species. And efforts seem to be paying dividends in other locations as well. Just recently, Yasha Gobies were successfully bred (in small numbers) by undergrads at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.
At New Life, we’re pretty excited about these new breakthroughs and their positive effects on both the aquarium hobby and our beautiful, precious underwater world.