Seahorse Aquariums works with 34 suppliers in 26 countries around the world to help ensure that we can source the best quality livestock. Working closely with our suppliers allows us to ensure the most rigorous welfare and environmental standards are met. This attention to detail, combined with careful packing and transportation procedures, ensures that livestock arrive at our facility in the very best condition.
Seahorse Aquariums regularly visits and advises its suppliers, this ensures that the highest quality and widest variety of livestock is offered to its customers. By only dealing with accredited suppliers, we are actively helping to preserve the relevant coastlines and in land habitats by providing the local families with secure jobs; families who may otherwise go into commercial fishing or turn to the deforestation of their land to grow palm or other commodities.
These acts of deforestation then have further implications on the water cycle and soil erosion in these areas.
The total amount of fish caught for the aquarium trade is 100 tonnes per year; a drop in the ocean compared to the figure of approximately 100,000,000 tonnes of food caught annually for the food industry. It shows that working with communities to successfully manage the natural resources in a sustainable manner is helping to preserve endangered species and local communities.
Here are some reasons behind not always having stocks of particular livestock and the factors effecting availability.
Weather conditions & seasonality
Weather conditions & seasonality such as typhoons, hurricanes, and even major thunderstorms hamper the efforts of collectors. Depending on the severity of the storm, diving boats will either not be able to leave the dock, cannot access desired locations, or have to contend with poor visibility or water clarity, which hampers collection efforts.
If you've ever been fishing...
If you've ever been fishing, you know you don't always catch what you want or how many you want. With the aquatic life industry, divers actually go "fishing" for most marine or freshwater species, and sometimes their collection efforts are simply not as successful as other times. Aquarium life is not as easily acquired as, say, aquarium equipment which is manufactured. If demand for a product is high, a manufacturer can simply make more product; not so with most aquatic life. Captive bred species are more predictable for availability, but this also will change with the different demand on species available.
Certain religious holidays, like the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan, or Christmas may influence the supply of some species. Collection and shipment of species is restricted during these times and availability of some species may be affected for up to two months.
Civil unrest, uprisings, and war will also influence the availability of aquatic life from specific regions across the globe. Some species that are endemic to a specific location will not be available during these times of unrest.
Fish/coral management practices
Fish/coral management practices designed to ensure the perpetuation of all aquatic species sometime permit only limited collection of certain species due to fluctuations in populations. A disease that reduces natural populations, unusually high predation by other fish, or particularly violent storms that damage large reefs may cause governmental agencies to temporarily restrict or even curtail collection efforts in certain areas for the long-term health and viability of the population.
Supply and demand
Supply and demand is another major factor influencing availability of underwater life, particularly during the winter. During the cooler months, many hobbyists establish or devote more attention to their aquariums because they are spending more time indoors. As a result, demand for aquaria is higher in the winter, when, unfortunately, supply is at its lowest for certain species.
Transportation - Cargo space on flights departing many of these small countries is very limited, and unfortunately, live fish, etc. take a low priority on the manifest. Therefore, shipments are frequently cancelled and rescheduled for later flights - sometimes weeks in the future!
Since our standards for the health of all fish and livestock are considerably higher than others in the industry, if someone else has a species we do not offer, it's very likely we are simply not making ours available for another day or two because we feel it is not at its premium health yet. If you want a specimen you're sure will be at its optimum health and most vibrant coloration, you may want to wait a few days and try us again. Every week, new species arrive at our facility, and every day we make available for sale specimens that have successfully passed our thorough health examination.