March 27, 2020
Following the release of the smash hit Finding Nemo peoples interest in the instantly recognizable clownfish skyrocketed. Unfortunately, people’s interest in having their own clownfish in their aquariums at home also hit a new high. This passion for owning this striking species has led to an increase in illegal collection of clownfish from the wild which is incredibly problematic.
The Boyne Island Environmental Education Centre, which is close to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia has set up the Caring for Clownfish project in attempt to help protect this important species. The project aims to sustainably breed clownfish that could then be sold to pet shops and stop the illegal collection from the reef. Alarmingly 90% of exotic fish found in pet stores have been collected from the wild, so finding ethical alternatives is imperative to maintain biodiversity of reefs around the world.
At present Caring for Clownfish have been caring for 30 species of clownfish since mid-2018. The fish have required a settling in period, but the team believe that some of the clownfish are now ready to begin breeding. This is fantastic news, as each clownfish pair can produce to one thousand eggs each month, and of these thousand roughly 100 will survive to the juvenile fish stage. If successful, this project will reduce illegal fishing on the Great Barrier Reef and help protect this fragile ecosystem.
Source: ABC News Australia
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