Thursday, May 15, 2014

15/05/14: Ornamental Fish Aquaculture: An Emerging Global Industry

With the value of global trade in ornamental fish fast approaching a billion dollars annually, this important industry - although still in its infancy - continues to grow and, as knowledge increases, the species that are being successfully bred continue to diversify.

At World Aquaculture Adelaide 2014 next month, a session devoted to ornamental fish aquaculture will look at new techniques, the importance of larval foods, new species and the involvement of public aquariums.  It will also consider the risks of importing fish and using antibiotics.
Latest available figures from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) show that global exports of ornamental fish in 2011 were valued at over US$362 million, with global imports over US$350 million. (1)  In the same year Australia exported US$2.2 million of ornamental fish and imported US$5.4 million.
Over 1 billion ornamental fish comprising more than 4000 freshwater and 1400 marine species are traded internationally each year, with 8-10 million imported into Australia alone. (2)
English: Orthographic map of Australia centere...
English: Orthographic map of Australia centered at 26.75° S, 133.25° E. Official territory. Claimed territories. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The FAO says that with the levelling off or decline in production from many capture fisheries across the globe, people are looking for other ways of harnessing aquatic biodiversity.  One option is the sustainable harvest and culture of ornamental fish.  In many developing countries the harvest of fresh and marine ornamental fish provides income in areas where little other option exists for employment. (3)
According to the FAO, such a vast and important industry has the potential to contribute to the economic growth of states and the sustainable development of aquatic resources, but faces future challenges regarding environmental and social issues. (4)
These issues will be comprehensively explored in the day-long session on Wednesday June 11, with speakers from all over the world contributing.
South Australia is proud to be hosting World Aquaculture for the first time in this continent since 1999. This annual event organized by the World Aquaculture Society incorporates the biennial Australasian Aquaculture Conference and Trade Show (theme ‘Create, Nurture, Grow’) in a joint arrangement with National Aquaculture Council.

(1) FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics and Information Branch (2014). Global production and trade 1976-2011.  Available at:
(2) Whittington, R.J. and Chong, R. (2007). Global trade in ornamental fish from an Australian perspective: The case for revised import risk analysis and management strategies. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 81 (1-3 Spec. Iss.). pp. 92-116.
(3) FAO Fisheries & Aquaculture - Ornamental fish (2013).  Available at:
(4) FAO Fisheries & Aquaculture - Ornamental fish (2013).  Available at:

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the magazine International Aquafeed which is published by Perendale Publishers Ltd.

1 comment:

  1. Raising ornamental fish "locally" or under controlled conditions is certainly a better way to safeguard against undue influences as in natural habitats. Whenever fish (ornamental or not - or other aquatic animals) are taken from their habitat, this usually disturbs the ecosystem considerably. Raising these organisms separately will provide a safeguard against these disturbances as well as protecting against diseases that otherwise might be imported inadvertently with the fish from the "wild".