Sustainable Collections Abstracts
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Aquatic Sustainability the Next Steps
Disney's The Seas
with Nemo and Friends
The AZA Aquatic Collections Sustainability Committee has been actively developing new tools, resources and recommendations for how we can improve the sustainability of our aquatic exhibits. Each facility is unique and have different needs and access to resources. Decision management is the first step to ensuring animal populations are not only sourced appropriately, but that welfare, longevity, reproduction potential and facility expertise are considered.
The focus of this talk will be on collection planning with an emphasis on options to increase sustainability in our aquariums and zoos though the Larval Programs Distribution Model with supporting Sustainability
Fund. This presentation will overview the teams within the ACSC, the areas of work, and how these efforts need the input and support of the RAW community.
Endangered fish on sale cheap in the back of a Denny's
Aquarium at the Boardwalk
Lots of interesting and aquarium-suitable species have been collected and bred by dedicated aquarium hobbyists. As a freshwater fish extinction crisis looms, many of these species have become endangered or extinct in the wild, and now only exist in the hands of private breeders, often far from their native range. While many species are commercially viable and can be found at big box pet stores, many more are not, and have been remarkably well curated for decades in the hands of relatively few hobbyists. These hobbyists are loosely organized into breeding groups and clubs that focus on killifish, livebearers, and cichlids. However, in recent years these clubs are mostly trending downward. Their leaders and members are aging, and the fish they curate are at risk of becoming extinct in the hobby. Public aquariums don’t historically engage this group very well, despite our missions of preserving species, and the low difficulty level of propagating many of these fish. I’ll provide my recent experiences with learning about and raising some of these fish, and how rewarding it’s been engaging killifish and livebearer clubs.
Using Data for Sustainable Collection Planning and Conservation
Recent data on the most financially successful aquariums indicates that being good at your mission is more important than ever2. As the role of public aquariums continues to evolve, aquariums are seeking mission-based opportunities to promote their contributions to sustainability, animal rescue, and conservation. This presentation will review how data can help the aquarium community transform animal records into powerful tools to help promote our collective achievements and positive impact on the world.
The Coral Reef Aquarium Fisheries Campaign: Year in Review
Coral Reef Aquarium
In 2021, The Coral Reef Aquarium Fisheries Campaign took a comprehensive approach toward its goal of empowering sustainable coral reef aquarium fisheries that support biodiversity conservation, healthy coral reefs, and the livelihoods of fishers, traders, and others who depend on them across the global value chain. On advancing policy, the Campaign completed an analysis of the regulatory landscape for marine aquarium fish fisheries in the State of Florida, outlining a comparatively robust regulatory framework. Accordingly, trends in catch data have remained largely stable or on the incline over time. The Campaign also works to upgrade the value chain of aquarium fishes. On this front, we’ve identified genes in fishes that respond to cyanide exposure in clownfish, guiding us to target the enzymes they produce in developing a field test. Meanwhile, Mystic Aquarium volunteers completed a nationwide canvass of ~3,200 marine aquarium businesses that we can engage to understand the U.S. trade and help them achieve environmental and economic sustainability in business operations. The Marine Science Magnet High School innovated a new educational experience for their kids while they pivoted to a hybrid model in the midst of the pandemic, sending lab kits...that is, aquarium kits...to students’ homes to learn aquarium & aquaculture science. And finally, on the aquaculture R&D front, we’ve published a peer-reviewed research article to help aquaculturists increase aquaculture capacity for the royal gramma, one of the most popular marine aquarium fishes in the U.S. Come see us and find out what’s in store for 2022!