The Bumphead Parrotfish
At Biota we have developed technology that allows us to collect gametes freshly spawned in the wild and keep them at a very high survival rate for hatching in captivity. This method has shown very promising and it has allowed us to work with ornamental species normally impossible to culture in captivity. The benefits from this method are several and include:
- the growth of new and significant species to reef health
- almost zero impact on the wild populations
- no need for wild fish in captivity as broodstock
- less expense
- higher quality of egg as a means for better fry.
A remarkable example is the endangered Bumphead Parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum). The family of Parrotfish (Scarrids) comprises of a large number of greatly varied fish. They range massively in size, diet and abundance and have often been described as one of the most important families of fishes in relation to reef health. The Bumphead Parrotfish is the world’s largest Parrotfish and has been shown to produce five metric tons of coral sand per year per fish as a waste product of its feeding habits. However this natural bioengineer, which is listed as Vulnerable at the IUCN, is literally being fished to extinction around the Pacific.
Fortunately, they have been protected in Palau and this means we have been able to get a supply of gametes (eggs) in order to trial farming them for restocking purposes. The success in this project has been a world’s first, and as such it represents big news in the biology field, as no species of the whole family had been ever cultured before.
In continuity with this work, spawning aggregations of other species are also part of our investigation. Currently we dive on more than four sites per month doing visual surveys to assess gathering fish ready to spawn.
Biota Promotional Video 2018A massive thank you to Mike Fox, Paul Unique and Oceania TV News for all the help and patience in getting this production together. Biota has been working on this for some time and could not have made it such a great translation of the work we do without this help! Enjoy!
Some of the new species cultured so far using our new methods:
Blue Lined Seabream