26 September 2011

Resorts World Sentosa responds on sourcing of fishes for Marine Life Park

On 21 Sep, I had posted on this comment on MLP Aquarium Curatorial team goes fish-ing: Where do these farms get their fishes from? Were the fishes sustainably harvested? Captive bred? Did RWS look at these issues when purchasing their fish stocks? Other aquariums have supported efforts to sustainably harvest wild reef fish and to develop sustainable captive breeding. Will RWS and Marine Life Park adopt this approach? With more details in my earlier blog post.
"Craig Sowden checking out a species
of ray on one of the reconnoiter trips" From the MLP blog
On 26 Sep, I received this response from Craig Sowden, Director of Oceanarium and Chief Curator.


Dear Ria Tan

Thank you for expressing your concerns regarding “wild caught” fish collection for the aquaria at Marine Life Park. After working for 21 years at Sydney Aquarium as the General Manager of Life Sciences and having served on numerous ethics and regulatory boards and committees throughout my career, I share your support of sustainable fish collections and dealing only with suppliers who adhere to quality standards.

I would like to point out that, contrary to what your statements imply, we have a comprehensive policy for acquiring the fish and other marine species in our aquarium. Our staff brings decades of experience from reputable aquariums throughout the world, and every one of them is intolerant of cyanide or other inhumane methods of collection.

Our Aquarium organism acquisition sources include: 1) aquaculture -- both grow out & captive bred and 2) wild caught. Among our many requirements and regulations, we do not allow collection by cyanide, other chemicals or dynamite. In addition, records of all treatments conducted are required and high quality standards in terms of feed, nutrient levels, other additives and feeding regimes are requested. This is to ensure the long-term health of the animal and to highlight any possible environmental concerns. All suppliers must allow inspection visits by the Marine Life Park staff. Where applicable, the supplier must be certified by the Marine Aquarium Council based in the United States.

As the person in charge of the aquarium, I can tell you one of my highest priorities is ensuring the proper and legal acquisition of organisms. The long-term health of the animals, the humane methods in which they are raised or collected and the potential environmental implications are of prime consideration to me.

In the future, if you have any questions regarding how the aquarium will be run, our policies, processes, approach to animal welfare, ethics or procedures please do not hesitate to contact us.

Craig Sowden
Director of Oceanarium and Chief Curator

I replied on 26 Sep: "Dear Craig Sowden, Thank you for this clarification. The details you provided help highlight some of the issues involved in the acquisition of fish for Marine Life Park. Details that were alarmingly missing in the original post. Thank you also for your invitation to send questions regarding the aquarium, which I am sure will be taken up by the community concerned about the issues."


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