Rising Tide Conservation

August 17, 2015
SeaWorld Aquarium

Did you know that coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world, rivaling rain forests for the number of species inhabiting them? And, did you know that coral reefs protect coastlines from erosion, provide food and recreation for people, and are home to up to 8,000 fish species? 

The sad truth is that coral reefs face growing threats, including ocean acidification, warming ocean temperatures, coral bleaching, pollution and over-exploitation. All of these factors can disrupt a reef's delicate balance, and potentially destroy these vital habitats and, ultimately, the animals that live there.

Additionally, as home aquariums continue to rise in popularity, we need to find ways to breed saltwater ornamental fish, so that we can reduce the negative impact of wild collection on coral reefs. Step in SeaWorld and Rising Tide Conservation.

Rising Tide Conservation, a program started by SeaWorld, celebrated two major milestones in that regard – successes in breeding both yellow and blue tangs. Researchers have been trying for years to breed these popular aquarium fish, and thanks to the diverse partners that now make up Rising Tide, what was once a dream is now a reality. 

Rising Tide Conservation includes universities, professional aquarists, aquaculture facilities and retail pet supply companies, all focused on protected coral reefs through sustainable aquaculture.

Through education and collaboration, our efforts are working.

The exciting breakthrough in yellow tang breeding was attributed to a team of researchers at the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University and was made possible in part through the financial support of Rising Tide Conservation

Shortly after the success with yellow tangs, researchers announced in July 2016 that they had another breakthrough – successfully breeding blue tangs! Learn more about this announcement here.

Rising Tide Conservation did it yet again when they announced an international first in August 2016 – the successful breeding of the Potter’s angelfish!

These efforts, and successes, continue at our parks.  Discovery Cove in Orlando directly participates in the program by collecting fish eggs from its aquariums that would otherwise not hatch and donating them to researchers. We also use fish that have been raised through the program.  Education is critical, which is why we share with our guests the impact of humans on reefs and ways to make a difference in their everyday lives. Learn more about these and other Rising Tide efforts from our parks here.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay recently opened a Rising Tide Conservation exhibit after nearly 2 years developing the system. The exhibit houses aquaculture fish, live corals and snails and is open daily to educate and inspire guests to take action.

While we’re excited for the work that’s been done, there’s much more work to do, and you can play an important role. Here are a couple of great ways you can help:

  • Supporting this initiative by donating to the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. More info here:  https://swbg-conservationfund.org
  • Share information about reef fish population and environment challenges with your friends and family and local tropical fish groups.

Be sure to read about the important work that organizations like Rising Tide Conservation are doing, and check back here, or on the SeaWorld Facebook page, for the latest updates about Rising Tide Conservation.  

Hakai magazine - "Breeding Dory": when “Finding Nemo" was released, clownfish became the latest trendy pet. Now, with the release of “Finding Dory,” researchers race to grow captive-bred blue tangs to protect those in the wild.

REGAL TANGS SUCCESSFULLY CAPTIVE BRED FOR THE FIRST TIME!: "This is a new chapter in ornamental fish aquaculture," commented Dr. Judy St. Leger, President of Rising Tide Conservation.