Why do people keep fish? It's because we want to be connected to nature. We find them fascinating and are often inspired by bringing a slice of an alien world into our homes. We are driven to replicate their ecosystem, to keep them so happy and satisfied that they feel comfortable to exhibit natural behaviors such as schooling and even breeding (arguably seen as the ultimate confirmation of successful fishkeeping). In short, we do it because we love these fish, and part of loving something is trying to protect it.
For Segrest Farms, this means that acting with conservation and sustainability is front and center in what we do. But conservation is a complex subject, and there's no direct route there.
For years, the message behind conservation was captive breeding and reducing the wild collection of fish. This led to fish farms across the country and across the globe learning to breed virtually every freshwater species in the hobby. Currently over 90% of freshwater fish in the hobby are captive bred, whether in ponds on farms or in tanks.
We still very much support the captive breeding of fish, and are especially proud to support Rising Tide Conservation and strive to carry as many captive bred marine fish as possible.
But, again, conservation is complicated, and over time we have learned that wild collection of fish can also play an invaluable role in the preservation of wild habitats. Consequently, we also support sustainable fisheries and organizations, such as Project Piaba, who work with them to strengthen their capability to protect the resources that surround them.
In order to make the most positive impact, we often need to look at a blended approach. This is the foundation of our Coral Conservation Initiative which advocates supporting sustainable collection, mariculture, and aquaculture.
Segrest Farms fully believes that the key to long term sustainability comes from this two pronged approach. We as a company, an industry, and hobby need to stay informed and know when fish should be captive bred, and when we should be supporting the local fishermen.