Biota Palau released 600 rabbitfish that they raised into the waters of Ordomel, Airai on January 17th with the intention of restocking this species of fish. Biota Founder and CEO Tom Bowling said that the fishermen have not been catching a lot of rabbitfish lately and that it is favored by the Palauan community so they thought that it would be a perfect fish to restock.
He added that the advantage of raising this fish is that they lay a lot of eggs in one time, they grow really fast, and they are herbivorous fish which is more sustainable compared to raising carnivorous fish. Biota raised these rabbitfish until they are 4-months old to increase their chance of survival.
The students from Airai Elementary School had the opportunity to release the 4-month old rabbitfish and to tour around the facilities. Everyone had a fair chance in releasing the rabbitfish into the water.
In addition to raising rabbitfish, Biota also raises clams, corals, and 12 species of fish with the purpose of exporting outside. Moreover, Tom Bowling said that aside from the rabbitfish these aquatic species that they are exporting are not for food, but rather they are for aquariums.
He said that their clientele’s are aware of the environmental issues and would much rather get fish or clams that are aqua cultured. He also added that the aquatic species being cultured in Biota all came from eggs and are not retrieved from the wild which he says is a common misconception.
According to their main website Biota Palau is a main multi species hatchery and they are licensed for collection, culture, as well as exportation of different fish species, corals, and clams. They are also actively working on developing educational campaigns in Palau. In the past, they have opened their doors to local elementary schools and their goal is to extend their invitation to the high school’s in Palau with hopes that they will inspire students of all levels to grow into adults that will take care of the ocean.
Their facilities are open to the general residents and visitors so that they can see their work and understand the positive impacts of sustainable aquaculture towards the future of the ocean. (Telbakes Yano)