Over 20 years after becoming the first in-situ (Ocean Farm), licensed coral farm in Indonesia, Bali Aquarium has done it again, becoming the first ex-situ (inland) licensed coral farm in Indonesia to obtain export quota for these corals. It’s been a long bumpy road of trial and errors to develop the techniques and building up the regulatory system to frame this new Indonesian coral culture industry.
But Bali Aquarium is now certified and licensed to to export 26 genera/species produced in their land farm which is a great news for the whole industry and could help fill a gap from the the not-so-great news we’re getting from Australia wild coral collection fisheries.
Good news for the Aquarium industry
Our industry need some good news, and having a company closing the loop and extending possibilities of farming in the original main coral supplier is actually a milestone for our industry. The health of coral reefs around the world is rapidly deteriorating, and since we love corals, we don’t want any fingers pointed our direction regarding our impact on wild reefs, specially when other solutions exists.
A long and complex administrative road:
This is where the challenge lies – Since the only coral farm regulation existing were from the in-situ Mariculture industry, the farming method was forced to follow the same framework, developed for in-situ Mariculture. Keeping brood-stock colonies, which is not too expensive in-situ but becomes prohibitive in ex-situ aquarium systems. Also a proper traceability systems, using numbers, tags, reports… also inspired from the mariculture.
A simple yet very efficient method:
One way to reduce cost of coral production in land based aquariums systems is achieved using the Triton method, and avoiding regular water changes since getting good quality natural sea water becomes a problem in dense urban area with heavy rain fall during the wet season.
Indonesian Coral industry reloaded, 2.0:
Ex-situ (Land based) mariculture is the perfect match to In-situ (Ocean based) mariculture. While Ocean farms allow to produce quickly at a lower cost a lot of corals, some corals needs are so specific that it becomes sometime almost impossible to attend them in the ocean: High Flow, High Swell, Deep…
Ex-situ farms have also a long list of complementary advantages too.
– Some species just grow better in controlled environment farms than in the ocean farms.
– Ocean farms are subject to climate change fluctuation, that can wipe out a whole farm within a single day or few weeks.
– Smaller fragment sizes, less bacterial infections, controlled competition and predation, less algae, no butterflyfish and other coral predators.
– Coloration is stable and will not change when reaching its final destination.
– Already adapted to aquarium conditions, lighting, water quality parameters, artificial coral food…
– Very healthy, less stressed animals that don’t need to adapt to Aquarium conditions
– Reduced risk of parasite hitch-hiker.
Obviously, not all corals can be suitable for expensive husbandry methods used in ex-situ farming. Only the most valuable and rarest corals can be economically grown using coral culture aquariums. These techniques are already used almost all around the coral world, and it’s very good that it finally can be used also in the original coral region. Ex situ farming is part of the future, and we hope that many other companies will embrace it all around the world.