The Campaign celebrates Aquaculture on World Ocean Day

2021-06-01 09:39 PM By Paul
A pair of Royal Grammas nestle into their nest. Photo by H. Pratt/Mystic Aquarium

June 8th is World Ocean Day.                

For World Ocean Day, the Campaign celebrates the role that aquaculture can play in offsetting fishing pressure for marine aquarium fish species vulnerable to overfishing, and makes its contribution to the initiative with our latest publication, "Establishing optimal broodstock sex ratios for the royal gramma (Gramma loreto) in small scale system aquaculture,"        published last month in the scientific journal Aquaculture.  This contribution represents the culmination of years of effort, dedication, and partnership between Mystic Aquarium and the Marine Science Magnet High School to advance the state of the art of aquaculture for the marine aquarium trade, one of the three pillars of the Coral Reef Aquarium Fisheries Campaign.  
Mystic Aquarium Research Aquaculturist Vince Vacco films Royal Gramma courtship behavior. Photo by C. Miller/Mystic Aquarium
The royal gramma is vulnerable to anthropogenic impact in its coral reef habitats, and is deemed an “indicator” species of pollution. It is also heavily fished for the aquarium trade, being among the top 1% of imported marine aquarium fish species into the U.S. The objective of this study was to establish optimal sex ratios of broodstock groups for aquaculture as an alternative to wild capture, while balancing territorial aggression.  Results suggest that in small aquaria, a sex ratio of one male to two females may be optimal for spawning because courtship and nest use behaviors are optimized while aversive behaviors are moderated. Past efforts to aquaculture the species have typically been conducted at broodstock sex ratios of 1:1. These results offer the potential to increase productivity of commercial aquaculture of the species.
Photo by G. Giardino

The Campaign and its partners accomplished this feat thanks to the generous support of our sponsors:  The National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates Program, the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, Rising Tide Conservation, and Connecticut Sea GrantThank you for your support!

This World Ocean Day, make your commitment to healthier ocean habitats for marine aquarium fish, and for all of us.  Click below to make a difference.