Captive bred puffers boost population

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Hundreds of thousands of captive bred puffer fish have been released into the Peconic Bay area of Long Island, USA, to boost the dwindling population of the fishes.

According to Newsday.com, 600,000 Northern puffers, Sphoeroides maculatus, have been released into the area by the East Hampton Department of Natural Resources who bred the fish as part of a $6,500 program to save the species.

The puffers, which can reach over 30cm/12" in length, are edible and numbers may have declined in recent years due to advances in fishing technology.

The puffers are being bred in large tanks and released by their thousands in a juvenile form. The breeders expect only about 20% of the fish to survive but say that this is the most cost effective way of running the program. It would simply be too costly to raise the puffers to a larger size.