1ST YEAR SUCCESS
UK Bred Ltd, the UK’S only Cefasauthorised breeder of marine fish and invertebrates, has celebrated its first year of trading. The hatchery produces a small range of fish and inverts for wholesale supply to shops, and has big plans for the future.
As pressure on reef ecosystems from climate change, pollution and over-exploitation grows, more marine aquarists are interested in where their fish come from. The animals raised at the West Sussexbased facility have never seen the sea, don’t bring in diseases or hitchhikers from the wild, and are acclimatised to life in a tank. As many more species are listed as endangered or come under the control of CITES, and traditional fisheries face bans on collection and export, it’s likely more of the fish in hobbyists’ tanks will need to come from captive breeding programmes.
Tony Evans, owner and managing director, first became concerned about the wild collection of fish for the aquarium trade while on a diving holiday. This led to a pilot project in his basement, hours of study and experimentation, and finally to the current commercial facility.
“It’s an idea whose time has come,” he says. “Every year we see an ever-growing list of species that have been successfully bred by hobbyists, yet our local fish shops are still mostly full of wildcaught fish. Our task is to take the knowledge amassed by hobbyists and apply it commercially to try to increase the proportion of captive-bred fish in shops.”