By Tom Sarac
The Fluval brand is fundamentally connected to the well being of the tropical fish trade and the aquatic success of our customers who keep aquariums. Being a life-long aquarist, I have always preferred wild caught fish, given my fascination with breeding them along with the creation of natural aquarium habitats. Wild species not only demonstrate expected natural instinctive behavior, for example, when spawning and raising fry, but their colors, size and comportment are the genetic input todays’ many inbred varieties/species often require to sustain viable breeding populations.
The environment is a topic that is considered from many perspectives, some with a very narrow one others’ with a broader outlook. Many Canadians, including the Federal Government of Canada who has now updated its’ environmental dept. name to: Environment and Climate Change Canada are concerned with the future of this planet and the best strategies to protect it. While I could elaborate endlessly on that topic let’s focus on our own industry with a broader perspective.
Some groups such as PETA would ban fish keeping and the entire tropical fish industry without any understanding of just how effectively our industry, especially that of wild caught freshwater topical fish can protect the environment. Project Piaba, a non-profit organization which studies and fosters an environmentally & socially beneficial home-aquarium fish trade is a first-class example of this principle. The driving force behind this project is the basic understanding that wild caught fish, in this case from the Rio Negro (a major tributary of the mighty Amazon) in Brazil, are a resource that can be best sustained in a healthy protected environment. Who better to protect it than the native population who has evolved and lives along-side it. Should we not support this industry, we risk local natives being employed in highly destructive industries such as foresty, mining and energy. What then would become of their future? Would it become the one that many urban dwellers in developed nations have been born into and expect or would it be better for our planet to allow South American natives to continue to live and thrive in harmony with nature?
With growing urbanization, development and mass destruction of South America, correctly described as the lung of our planet, our industry is an environmentally friendly one when it comes to wild caught fish. In fact a quick survey of key personnel in our very own global head office building resulted in not one person being aware of project Piaba, it is reasonable to assume not many outside of it would either.
Please make sure to review the links below, the first is a Youtube video of Dr. Gerald Bassleer who lent his expertise to Project Piaba on an expedition to assess the health of the Rio Negro fishery and recounts some important statistics in relation to wild caught tropical fish. The second link is the 2017 annual Piaba report and according update for 2018.