When I got our aquacultured (captive bred) yellow tangs from Segrest farms I was in a constant state of awe that we got 3 of the first ever bred. I would go into our store and stare at them and think about the researchers that worked on this project for years and how they must have felt when they got these guys old enough to go to new homes. I thought about how one fish bred is one less taken from the ocean and that is awesome! The Yellows turned 3 in October and I cant help but reflect on these past 3 years. So much has happened for aquaculture, so many successes, so much press for our tiny part of the industry.
People are starting to pick aquacultured, more places are starting to carry aquacultured, and more and more fish are being aquacultured. This sounds like its going in the direction we want right? Things are going great right? I am always writing about the positive sides of aquaculture and our industry but I think its important for us to understand it from all angles. We all need to make a stand right now if we are going to see an aquacultured tomorrow.
I used to think that all these successes would mean that we were winning but now I’m not so sure. We are in a pivotal time when aquaculture is either going to start winning more hearts or all this time and money and good that we are trying to do will dwindle away. It will probably happen slowly so we don’t notice it as much. We live in an instant gratification society and are raising our children that way. We aslo live in a throw away society where there are big companies selling wild caught fish so inexpensively that people will inevitably buy them and those same companies sell that species aquacultured for 4-5 times that cost. That is an absolutely devastating blow to the good that we are all trying to do. How can you expect someone to buy an aquacultured fish for $80 when they see it in the same place wild caught for under $20? I would think at least 80% of the time in that scenario we would lose.
I think education is where we are lacking in the aquaculture department. I think that is the key to our success or failure.
So what can we do?
We need to band together and get the word out. We need to educate the public about this. We need to rise up and post pictures and videos of our beloved aquacultured fish. Education has always been power. Ask your local fish store to carry aquacultured fish. Go on the many many forums and talk about how amazing your aquacultured fish are. Talk about how they eat right away when you put them into your aquarium and how healthy and robust they are. Be proud of all the hours that these amazing people put in to their fish and all the research that they do, all the questions they ask and the tireless research done to answer those questions. Lets change the conversation to celebrate these aquacultured marvels.
Does this fire you up? I am fired up typing this. I will keep doing my part with my writing and my videos and my posts. I will do my part by selling more aquacultured fish than wild caught. I will keep fighting to get as many aquacultured fish into your aquariums as possible. Will you help me to fight for an aquacultured tomorrow?
Please post your aquacultured fish in the comments