Groundbreaking SNAP breeding project
Tiny fish eggs harvested from tanks at SEA LIFE Centres are to be nurtured as part of a pioneering new breeding project. The SustaiNable Aquariums Project (SNAP) sees a collaboration between nine SEA LIFE centres, The Deep, The Zoological Society of London and Bangor University.
The ground-breaking study which has already attracted more than £350,000 of EU funding will see a special facility in North Wales attempting to hatch the eggs and rear as many of the hatchlings as possible over a period of three years.
The nine SEA LIFE centres across the UK are targeting an initial 20 tropical reef species which are popular in aquariums but have not yet been successfully captive-bred. They include species of butterflyfish, rabbitfish, angelfish and tangs.
If successful the project could lead to the first commercial hatchery for these species in Europe, based in Wales and supplying aquariums across the continent. The eggs and larvae will be collected in a special filter box floated at the surface of key tropical display tanks. Although deliveries to North Wales will not begin until the New Year the SEA LIFE centres involved in the project team have already staged a successful trial collection.
The aim of the project is to help aquariums become more self-sufficient. Another benefit will be to help reduce the demand for these species from the wild, which in turn will aid efforts to combat unethical and destructive practices like cyanide and dynamite fishing. This is an exciting project for the teams across SEA LIFE and we hope to share more news on this project soon.
SNAP is part-funded by the European Regional Development fund through the Welsh Governments SMARTExpertise 2014 – 2020 programme. For further information go to snap.bangor.ac.uk or follow the project on twitter (@SNAP_EU).