Marine Aquarium Council spreads range

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The Marine Aquarium Council is to spread the range of its work to Sulawesi and West Sumatra later this year following new site surveys.

MAC's Certification Programme trains local communities to catch tropical marine aquarium fishes and corals sustainably, and without the use of cyanide, and provides a level of traceability so importers, and eventually fish dealers can buy fish safe in the knowledge that they know where they come from and how they have been caught.

The Marine Aquarium Council says it worked alongside MAC Certified fish exporters who have already established arms of their businesses within Sulawesi and West Sumatra, either through local representatives or local traders."Around Sulawesi there are also significant collection areas for many hard coral species..."Says MAC: "The fish variety available from West Sumatra includes many species from the Indian Ocean. Around Sulawesi there are also significant collection areas for many hard coral species.

"In both of these areas, MAC will work with "resident rovers", who fish in the collection areas near to where they live, and also rove to collect at other sites in the surrounding waters.

"These collecting areas are within sixteen (16) hours boat journey of their resident villages. Collection Area Management Plans (CAMP) will also be developed for the reefs where they collect."

Roving collectorsThe roving collectors likely to be employed under the new programme in this region will be trained in net-only capture techniques, as cyanide is prohibited and very much frowned upon by the aquarium trade as a whole.

MAC and its partners will also provide dive training and show the collectors how to handle and transport their fishes and invertebrates as safely as possible to reduce mortality rates to the absolute minimum. "MAC continues to receive expressions of interest in its work from people operating in other areas of Indonesia...."The Marine Aquarium Council says that the project is attracting interest and showing that the industry has become much more responsible:

"As MAC's operations spread into more regions of the archipelago, other collectors, suppliers and exporters are closely watching the work. MAC continues to receive expressions of interest in its work from people operating in other areas of Indonesia.

"With growing support from the industry, the vision of a responsible and sustainable marine aquarium trade in Indonesia is moving closer to reality."