Ornamental Fish

  • Name of species:
    Ornamental fish (aquarium fish) can be hatchery reared or trapped as post larvae. The Pacific also has indigenous species of freshwater fish that have potential for the aquarium trade. Presently most of the marine ornamental fish from the Pacific are caught wild as adults. The main fish species targeted are angelfish, surgeonfish (tangs), anemonefish, wrasse, butterfly fish and seahorses. Freshwater species include goldfish, koi carp and saratoga. Ornamental species currently being reared worldwide are mostly anemone fish (Pomacentridae), dottyback (Pseudochromidae) cardinal fish (Apogonidae), goby (Gobidae), seahorses (Syngnathidae) and to a lesser extent angelfish (Pomacanthidae). Although only a few species are cultured in the Pacific, the increasing global demand is likely to fuel more aquaculture efforts.
  • Primary potential:
  • Attributes for aquaculture/stock enhancement :

    · Farmed ornamental fish are reared from the egg through larval stages to market size in a controlled manner. This supply is more consistent then fishing from the wild

    · Species of ornamental fish can be obtained from the wild as post larvae using crest nets and light trap devices

    · Wild ornamental fish are hand-caught using fence nets or scoop nets. These practices have in some cases been tainted by accusations of being destructive, making fish caught in this way less marketable then cultured specimens

  • Culture methods :

    · Aquarium fish are reared in land facilities following mariculture principles: broodstock husbandry, spawning, larval rearing and weaning, nursery and grow-out

    ·Most ornamentals are reared indoors and weaned on formulated diet in order to adapt easily to aquarium life

    · Post larval fish used for ornamentals are over the early larval stages and need only to be weaned before the nursery and grow-out stages

    · Wild-caught ornamentals are usually kept on land in individual containers or communal tanks, depending on the species. They are kept briefly in these facilities before shipment

  • Current production status :

    · In the Pacific there are only a few commercial operations involved in culturing ornamental fish

    · There are several post larval fish trapping and grow-out projects in the region, particularly in French Polynesia, Solomon Islands and Fiji. Other countries, including Micronesia and Republic of the Marshall Islands, are interested in this area

    · There are numerous wild-caught ornamental fish exporters within the region, some of whom also operate aquaculture facilities for clams and/or coral, various invertebrates and live rocks

  • Marketing :

    · Markets for ornamental fish exist in developed countries, notably in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia

    · Most Pacific nations already have an ornamental industry, so export routes already exist. Collecting stations must be within easy distance of international airports

    · An export facility is a necessity to ensure proper packing and freight of live fish for the long air journeys to overseas markets. Although techniques are well established, they require specialist expertise and equipment

    · The Pacific currently has an excellent reputation for aquarium fish, as cyanide is not used in the region. The establishment of a fishery based on post larvae or hatchery-reared ornamentals would further enhance this good name

  • Comparative advantages/disadvantages (risks) of producing the species in the Pacific:

    · Pacific countries with damaged reefs or unsuitable fishing grounds for ornamentals will find that hatchery-based cultures are more suitable than wild-caught operations

    · A hatchery is more reliable in terms of consistent production than a wild-caught operation

    · Ornamental fish reared in a hatchery will adapt better to aquarium life

    · The capture and culture of post larval reef fish and hatchery-based operations cannot be expected to replace the current ornamental trade based on adult individuals, but it can provide an extra option for a sustainable fishery

    · Wild-caught ornamentals in the Pacific can be a very low-tech operation and some rare/deepwater species have good value in the market, making Pacific nations competitive with Southeast Asian nations. This industry provides only hand-caught fish and does not use cyanide or other chemicals

    · Most of the ornamental fish produced in hatcheries are not high-value species (cardinal fish, seahorses) compared to rare wild-caught ornamental fish such as dwarf angelfish and deepwater wrasse

    · An ornamental hatchery requires skilled labour and is expensive to run compared to a hand-caught ornamental operation

    ·A wild-caught ornamental fish operation is a suitable base from which to run trials and establish hatcheries or post larvae capture operations because it has market links, export facilities and biological skills. Irrespective of the source of the products (hatchery-reared, post larval trapped or wild-caught), they service complementary markets