China – Shanghai, 27-28 October 2008
The Shanghai Ocean University is the second largest University in China specialized in the study of fishes and hydrobiology. Prof. Chen Zaizhong invited me on my return from Hong Kong on October 27-28th to visit the new campus. It is gigantic.
Beautifully laid out, spaced designed in the most modern concept and the facilities for the students built to the optimum.
It is built in the southeast of Shanghai. Land was gained along the seashore of the Chinese Sea region, a piece of the land that consisted formerly of only swamp.
The undergraduate students of Prof. Chen study extensively ornamental freshwater fishes and all were very interested in my talks and asked me many very intelligent questions.
During a almost day-long session of seminar and talk about the past, present and future of the Aquarium hobby one Prof. Chen Zaizhong students wanted to know from me if it is not better to let wild fishes in their natural habitat instead of taking them out for the ornamental fish hobby and I answered:
“First of all I want to tell You, that all fishes, and specially smaller freshwater species, are almost worldwide threatened (and in many places by extinction – if not already), because of the destruction of their natural habitats, if that is deforestation, burning or polluting rivers and lakes. Look in Your own country, throughout Asia, South and Central America: everywhere people are polluting more and more their own environment and therefore also the habitat of fishes. In addition Man is continuously introducing exotics worldwide. Especially threatened are as I said, the small “aquarium” fishes, which have less and less chances to escape or to survive.
Therefore in aquaria fishes have much more chances to survive and, in addition, they live much longer than in nature. For instance look at one of the most sold aquarium fish, the Cardinal tetras, which live only one year in nature as so many other small (aquarium) fishes – but in aquaria a Cardinal tetra lives up to 10 years and longer!
In addition, do not forget, that many (or most) of the ornamental fishes we keep or have in the hobby, live in nature in a very small habitat – all their life. Some species only in a tiny waterhole, or in a very small bay area, often in very low, hardly 2-5 cm deep water. Therefore in aquaria, if done correctly and placed with the right decoration (natural environment) and together with their natural mates, they have it much better than in nature! That is for sure actually in every way.”
Anyone who wants to contact this unique aquatic university go to their website: http://www.shou.edu.cn/
Unfortunately so far only available in Mandarin.