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A multi-species mariculturesystem : a holistic approach to ornamental culture
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Coral reefs are in a worldwide state of crisis due to overexploitation. One of the factors contributing to the over exploitation is the marine ornamental industry. This industry utilises a diversity of organisms, comprising approximately 1470 species of fish and more than 300 species of invertebrates. Between April and December 2007, five of the 18 companies who had import permits for South Africa, imported a total of 359 different ornamental species, 252 of these were fish species while the remaining 107 species were invertebrates. During these nine months a total of 32 005 individual organisms were imported into South Africa by the five companies. There were two groups of fish that represented the highest import volumes. These were Amphiprion spp. and Pomacentradae spp., as well as the Gobidae spp. These groups represented 38% and 19% respectively of the total number of fish imported" Aquaculture has the potential to substantially reduce the harvesting pressure on coral reef organisms globally. A small-scale multi-species mariculture system was designed and constructed for benthic egg-laying species of fish (brood stock), corals, and ornamental algae. The system was designed to be low cost and easy to operate. The total capital costs for the system was R15 680.70. In order to estimate the potential yield of an aquaculture facility it is important to know the growth rate of the proposed species under pilot conditions. The use of artificial lighting regimes in aquaculture comes at a financial cost. It is for this reason that it is important to know what lighting scenario yields the highest growth rate of corals. The effects of photoperiod were tested on Sinularia sp. of coral. Two photoperiods were tested, namely: Groups (8:16 h Iight:dark cycle) and Group12 (12:12 h light:dark cycle). No significant difference in weight was found between Group8 and Group12 (p = 0.975). There was however a significant increase (p = 0.002) in Surface-area Pixel Value (SPV) for Groups (1996.73 millipixels pixel-1 day -1) compared to Group12 (983.73 millipixels pixel-1 day -1). The use of a 8:16 h lightdark cycle can thus yield coral of a larger size but not necessarily a higher mass.