Friday, 22 July 2016

Australian volunteer assists in development of an ornamental fish hatchery in Indonesia

Alexander Basford was a volunteer at Mars Symboscience in Indonesia from May 2015 to February 2016 under the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program. Below he shares his recent experience traveling to several aquaculture production and research facilities in Indonesia, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The final stage of microalgae culture at BBPBL Lampung - 30 tonne tanks that are the base of the food supply of the entire hatchery. Photo: Alex Basford
Aquaculture is a growing industry crucial to maintaining the health of fish stocks across the world. A newly emerging, but important, aspect of aquaculture revolves around the ornamental fish trade. Currently, a vast majority of fish in the aquarium trade is wild sourced. In developing nations, damaging methods such as the use of cyanide are used to catch fish for the aquarium trade. Mars Symbioscience Mariculture (MSM), supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, has been working for many years to address this issue in Makassar, Indonesia by implementing ornamental aquaculture as family based small business opportunities to replace wild collection.

Between November 2015 and January 2016, ACIAR provided funding for me to  travel to several aquaculture production and research facilities in Indonesia, Australia and Papua New Guinea. Travel to these locations allowed my colleagues and I to meet with ornamental fish aquaculture experts. These trips and meetings have already significantly improved the aquaculture procedures in the MSM hatchery. Improved ornamental fish aquaculture operations will ultimately benefit the local communities who grow out ornamental fish (such as clownfish and seahorses) cultured at the MSM hatchery by providing healthier and larger volumes of juveniles to grow out.
Dozens of clownfish broodstock tanks lined i[ at BPBL Ambon. Photo: Alex Basford.
Staff and farmers at BPBL Ambon sorting clownfish from sea pens for sale. Photo: Alex Basford.
I also traveled to the Balai Perikanan Budidaya Laut (BPBL) Ambon and Balai Besar Perikanan Budidaya Laut (BBPBL) Lampung in Indonesia. On each of these trips a manager from the MSM hatchery in Takalar, where my volunteer work is based, joined me to help give them first hand perspective on other aquaculture operations as well. We learnt from BPBL Ambon’s large-scale Amphiprion percula clownfish production (over 100 broodstock pairs on site, with between 20,000-50,000 eggs laid per month) how to effectively manage and scale up clownfish production. We also saw first hand the challenges involved with growing out clownfish in sea pens instead of aquariums and tanks, a popular, but risky (due to disease risk) method of growing large numbers of fish. Fortunately, Mars Symbioscience plans to implement family run small-scale grow out facilities on nearby islands, meaning the safer aquarium grow out method is preferred. At BBPBL Lampung we were also fortunate to learn methods involved in culturing the seahorse Hippocampus kuda as well as successful scale up of microalgae (the base food of any hatchery) to 30-ton cultures. These feats have not yet been achieved by MSM, but thanks to the input from BBPBL Lampung it should be feasible in the near future.

I also traveled internationally to the Nago Island Mariculture and Research Facility (NIMRF) in Kavieng, Papua New Guinea to visit ACIAR-supported James Cook University PhD candidate Thane Militz. Thane shared his extensive experience with ornamental fish and thus has helped improve the larval rearing methods used for clownfish at the MSM hatchery. Larval rearing is one of the most difficult aspects of aquaculture, and this trip allowed me to see first hand how successful the larval
rearing methods at NIMRF to help implement them at the MSM hatchery effectively.

Finally, a day trip to the National Marine Science Center (NMSC) in Coffs Harbour,
Australia was planned to investigate the benefits of using red microalgae as a food for the zooplankton at the MSM hatchery. Researcher Dr. Symon Dworjanyn explained the results of its use at the NMSC, and it’s a novel idea MSM is eager to explore at the hatchery in Takalar. 

The bright red microalgae Proteomonas sulcata in culture at the NMSC. Photo: Alex Basford.

By Alexander Basford, former AVID volunteer, Mars Symbioscience

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.