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Barrier Reef's Aquarium Blog

Sustainable Aquatics Products Coming To BRA

After watching Sustainable Aquatics availability lists for many months we have decided that its time to bring in some of their offerings. Sustainable Aquatics breeds Clownfish and raises other juvenile fish in captivity. As of this week, their Sustainable Islands project has provided its first batch of maricultured corals for sale. We will receive our first order from SA the first week of March.

SA designer Clownfish and captive raised fish are not only gorgeous, but also much more likely to survive in captivity compared to their wild counterparts. The designer Clowns include Snowflakes, Fancy White, Snow Onyx Ocellaris, and Onyx Percula (C-Quest line). Their captive raised line includes Clowns, Wrasses, Butterflies, Gobies, Tangs, and most recently Clown Triggers! The next time you visit our store, make sure you ask to see SA’s “tank-raised” fish that are fully acclimated to aquarium life.

We will also be bringing in maricultured corals from Sustainable Aquatics. Here is the copy from SA’s Sustainable Islands press release-

SA’s goal of offering superior products at the greatest value to the retailer in the most sustainable way led us to set up two dozen micro coral farms in the Solomon Islands. We did this in partnership with local tribal groups who share our mission to sustainably protect and manage natural habitats. Selected coral specimens are brought to the farm on a one-time selection basis to establish brood stock or mother colonies and clipped three to four times a year to make fragment cuttings which are attached to concrete discs. These disks are made by the natives on-site. Racks constructed by the native groups with SA funding are used to grow the coral frags. These corals are then shipped to SA where they are established and further grown in aquarium conditions under artificial lighting to assure that color is stable and that the corals are free of pests and parasites.

These first offerings will be complemented in coming weeks and months with a wider variety of species, both soft and hard, as well as cultured clams. Be sure to watch for our announcements as these become available.

The tribal groups partnering with us on these micro coral farms are in remote areas of the Solomon Islands. They lack electricity, water, and modern improvements. The leaders often speak English, missionaries having begun education programs as long as 100 years ago. Often the tribal leader is a deacon and religious leader as well. The farms are set up near to the villages, where the racks are in easy view and easily managed, normally in about 3-4 meters of water in a sandy area with good water flow and sunlight. These vast areas of sandy bottom are almost completely undeveloped. We can see from the incredible density and diversity of both vertebrate and invertebrate life in the reefs directly in front of the settled areas the positive effects of avoiding land-side agricultural, industrial, and municipal development.

A typical day in the lives of these natives may include about 3-4 hours of work, each person working in a specific area or task to benefit the group. Their diet is rich in a diversity of seafood that due to their closeness with the sea, they are able to collect as-needed. Pigs and chickens roam freely around the village almost as pets and are periodically harvested for sustenance. As one walks along the trails in the village area one comes to see that the foods they eat are planted all about in careful ways so as not to disturb the forest or allow loss of soil. Banana, papaya, fruits, roots and vegetables are all planted and grown in this way. Tea bushes grow in these spaces as well and excellent teas are served with most meals. The bulk of the day is spent socializing and relaxing, often reading. The day usually begins with the ringing of a bell and a meeting at dawn when the tribal leader reads from scripture and speaks from this reading to offers guidance and instructions, both spiritual and practical, for the coming day.

The work on the coral farms requires a few hours of work several times per week. The group works at harvest time to gather and package the shipments. At the same time, new fragments are made and tied-down to the racks. It is a time of excitement as they will realize revenue which they can use to buy goods they cannot make or cultivate.

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