Hi everyone, Cory here. I’ve blogged before on how the weather can effect fish availablilty , but weather conditions aren’t Mother Nature’s only tools. Sadly, the disaster unfolding in Haiti will effect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people long after the next few weeks as the world gathers to assist the injured and displaced denizens of that beautiful island nation. Our thoughtss and prayers are with the victims and their families.
As aquarists, you may likely feel some small ripples of the tragedy. You may see changes in prices and availability of Carribean invertebrates and fish. With a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hitting the capital city of Port-au-Prince, where a majority of the livestock is housed and shipped, the market may be in for some changes in the next few weeks. Haiti is an excellent source for Scarlet and Blue leg hermit crabs, Gorgonians, Ricordea, and countless other fish commonly seen in the aquarium trade. With restrictions on collection in Florida, there will no doubt be noticeable change in the coming weeks. There are collection stations through out the Caribbean such as Belize. The problem is shipping and the cost of collecting the organisms, the further away from the US, the more it is going to cost.
The bread and butter invertebrates such as Arrow Crabs, Banded Coral Shrimp, and Peppermint Shrimp will most likely be affected as well. During the summer and fall, hurricanes and tropical storms can lead to 1 or 2 weeks of no collection, which hits the aquarium trade very quickly. No one knows right now what the extent of the damage is in Haiti, but the toll is projected to be devastating. Until we know how much the main infrastructure has been disabled, we may be talking weeks to months of no collection. So keep an eye on the news and if you are interested in something from the Caribbean, you might want to get it now, in case the availability decreases as expected.
On the freshwater side, the frigid temps blanketing Florida may also cause some extended issues with tropical freshwater fish. The media has been covering the devastating effects of the freezing temperatures on the tropical fish farms based there. Millions of domestically raised fish, hundreds of species, that are shipped to retailers across the nation have perished during the cold snap. The toll of this event will be unknown for weeks, even as the temperatures rise again. Fish not killed by the plummeting water temperatures or devoured by predators as they lay paralyzed from the cold will have to recover from the shock and disease that may have set upon them in their weakened states. From guppies to cichlids, stocks have been impacted. Just a heads up, as you may see some empty tanks in the coming weeks until farmers can replenish stocks and recover from the poor circumstances.
You can read more about the fish farms here.