A very short update on the progress we have made protecting cichlids in lakes Malawi and Tanganyika. The recent release of the second species at risk in Lake Malawi is the highlight of this update.
Within one year after we had met Pierre le Roux at his fish farm in Chipoka he managed to catch the breeders for M. chipokae, breed them, grow the offspring in record time, and last month, on May 26th, Pierre and his son Jean released the first 68 offspring back at Chidunga Rocks! Watch the video, shot by Jean, in which Pierre releases the fish near the bottom of the shallow reef:
First release of Melanochromis chipokae at Chidunga Rocks
Pierre has another 90 juveniles to be released and also has had success in breeding Aulonocara baenschi of which he has about 150 juveniles that are about ready to be reintroduced at Nkhomo Reef. Later this year, Mattia Matarrese and colleagues from Perth, Australia, will assist Pierre in releasing both species while Larry Johnson with his group will again visit Taiwanee Reef to maybe release more Chindongo saulosi, but more importantly take a survey of the current population.
Chris and Louise Horsfall are successful in breeding Oreochromis tanganicae, the tilapia found throughout the lake. They found that the fingerlings won’t grow as fast as those of O. niloticus or O. mossambicus, but fast enough to make farming them a viable business, also for Tanzania. For years the Mpende Fisheries farm near Ndole in Zambia has been successful in raising O. tanganicae in large quantities in cages in the lake. The four countries surrounding Lake Tanganyika have all committed to prohibit the introduction of exotic species in fish farms situated around the lake and banned the farming of O. niloticus and other staple species grown throughout the world.
Later this year, in September, we will collect the breeders for the program aimed at reintroducing some of the species at risk of extinction. We will try to catch some Tropheus duboisi “Maswa”, some Tropheus moorii “Tanzania Murago”, and some breeders of Ophthalmotilapia boops “Blue Neon”. At the same time we will setup the cichlid census program to give us baseline densities of certain species. We will find out what is all involved, how much the program would cost if we hire a Tanzanian student to do it, and what species and localities are feasible. We have acquired five cameras which we will field test in September for this purpose.
Remember that a portion of each package of Frozen Cichlid Formula of Omega One supports the Fund!
Thank you all for your support and concern for our cichlids in the wild.