New perspectives on aquarium fish trade


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ABSTRACT:  Since the 1990s, the international market for importing aquarium fish is suspicious of stock coming from South-East Asia. Fish catches are still executed with cyanide-based toxic products. In the present paper, the potential of the French Polynesian Islands to develop a marine aquarium fish business with a new approach is explored. Coral reef fish are captured at the larval stage with crest nets, then larvae are reared in aquaria before being put on the world ornamental fish market. This approach offers several advantages: (i) larvae are captured with a passive system placed on the reef crest (crest net) that does not destroy the environment and limits the stress on collected larvae; (ii) larvae are then put into farmed basins that allow them to be controlled sanitarily; and (iii) larvae are weaned at the farm and fed rapidly with artificial food. This method increases survival rates as it eliminates the food acclimatization problem of fish captured at adult stage (main cause of fish mortality in aquaria). Overall, reared larvae will constitute a new product in terms of species, sizes and quality of ornamental fish on the aquarium market.