Our aquaculture program area began as the Desirable Invertebrates Breeding Society (Project DIBS) in August, 2006.
Started with less than a dozen aquarists in Houston, TX, Project DIBS rapidly expanded into dozens of states across the country. Our volunteers began to examine ways to improve aquaculture of marine organisms, and their larval foods, in order to increase the supply of captive-reared organisms and reduce their wild collection.
By April, 2008, our aquaculture program area consisted of over 700 volunteers and online community members in 27 states and 10 countries. Our community was expanding quickly, especially our network of Breeders attempting to raise marine organisms, until hurricane Ike made landfall in September, 2008 (see picture).
Both the main RSF broodstock system and our growout system were damaged due to loss of power, even with a backup generator for the growout system. Many of our Breeders in Texas suffered long power outtages, some over a month, and lost their entire systems. Since the hurricane we have focused our aquaculture efforts at getting breeding populations of animals to widely dispersed locations throughout the USA to prevent this type of loss of broodstock in the future.
As coral reefs continue to decline in the wild, it is important for aquaculture efforts to reduce the marine aquarium industry’s impact on natural coral reefs. If some of the worse-case scenarios for coral reef decline are realized, it is also important to aquaculture animals in aquariums as part of a larger plan to keep species from going extinct.
You can find out more about our aquaculture program area through the following sources: