At Oceanic Institute, an affiliate
of Hawai‘i Pacific University, a breeding program of
ornamental fish species is underway within the Finfish Department.
Researchers Chad Callam and Melissa Carr are joined by colleagues
in trying to find out the best ways to breed, hatch, and sustain
fish such as the flame angel and the yellow tang.
Because the demand for beautiful and exotic oriental fish continues
to grow, Oceanic Institute is pursuing ways to help raise these
fish in captivity. Successful breeding would mean not having
to harvest wild fish from reefs that are dangerously close to
depletion and where there are no regulations in effect.
Importing and breeding freshwater ornamental fish is an increasingly
lucrative aquaculture practice in Hawai‘i. Unfortunately,
on occasion, fish enter Hawai‘i carrying parasites, resulting
in the infection of healthy fish within our ornamental fish populations.
Many times an aquaculturist will treat the compromised fish without
full knowledge of what disease they are treating.
Through funding provided by CTSA (Center for Tropical and Subtropical
Aquaculture), a survey is being conducted on fresh-water fish
imported into Hawai‘i. Ideally, the outcome of this survey
will provide valuable information to the ornamental fish culturists
as to what pathogens are entering their facilities. Also, we
hope to provide information to government agencies regarding
what parasites are being introduced into Hawai‘i as they
are imported with ornamental fish populations.
Today, 360 imported freshwater ornamental fish have been examined
for the presence of parasites. The 360 specimens were from 14
different species of fish that originated from such locales as
Malaysia, Singapore, Ecuador, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia,
Taiwan, and the United States. The work plan called for the examination
of the gills, skin, intestine, kidney, liver, spleen, gall bladders,
muscle, and brain of each fish.
Parasites were observed only on the skin, gills, and in the intestine.
No parasites were observed in the other organs or muscles. Ciliates,
flagellates, and monogenean trematodes were observed microscopically
on the skin and gills of seven species of fish. A flagellate
was observed in the intestine of one species of fish.
Those intrigued by such research are encouraged to explore the
possibilities of an internship at Oceanic Institute. Contact
Gary Karr, director of education and communications, at 259-3146,
or e-mail email@example.com.