NANFA-L-- FW: releasing fish back to wild: anybody know anything about mycobacteria?

Bruce Stallsmith (
Tue, 28 Jun 2005 21:56:31 -0400

The message below is forwarded from the Fisheries-Science list. I thought it
was interesting because it touches on a topic we kick around sometimes on
this list, the whole idea of "arking" threatened species for possible
reintroduction to the wild. If you've had any experience with mycobacteria
I'd certainly urge you to contact Les (a mentor of mine in grad school. .
.). But more to the point, this is the kind of problem that's faced by
reputable fish breeders aiming for reintroduction. And I'm sure we'll have
to deal with this kind of question in the future.


Several of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association fish conservation
programs have encountered difficulties with mycobacterial infections. These
present most graphically in very old specimens, particularly wild brood
held for ten or more years (and we are talking about small fishes like
haplochromine cichlids or pupfishes). Nonetheless, now that there is
justification for intensive cultivation and even repatriation of some taxa
Africa, we are a bit nervous about this. One hypothesis that we have is
this is a problem unique to intensive culture, that would disappear upon
release back to the wild. But we do not know, and any and all advice and
actual experience we would be very glad to hear about.



Les Kaufman Professor of Biology Boston University Marine Program And Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology 617 353 5560 office 617 353 6965 lab

"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." George Bush

--Bruce Stallsmith along the turgid Tennessee Huntsville, AL, US of A

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