Report on the visit to Tagis Aquarium, Dreieich, Federal Republic of Germany
The export spent a week with the above-mentioned company, studying and discussing the quality of South Asia shipments of ornamental marine fishes and invertebrates, and the interest of the company in importing identical products from Mozambique.
With regard to the development of Lake Nyasa exports of ornamental cichlids, the conclusions of the expert's first visit in September 1979 were again discussed with the owners of this company, Mr and Mrs K. Grom.
The following questions were reviewed from 4 to 9 February:
Potential for the Lake Nyasa cichlids
Feasibility of Cabo Delgado province reef exploitation
The study of shipping techniques, price structures, freight costs for consignments of marine fauna from the perimeter of the Indian Ocean with which the Mozambique exports would have to compete. Comments about the techniques used and the quality of the shipments were made both from the owners and the staff of the company. Storage of the imports was studied
General discussion about various aspects of the ornamental fish trade, which might prove of ulterior interest to the project (storing and handling)
Finally, an evaluation of the interest of Tagis Aquarium in importing marine species from Mozambique.
Mr Grom kindly made available to the consultant information and documents which gave a valuable insight into various aspects of the trade including price lists, detailed packing lists, invoices, freight bills. Comments can be summarized as follows:
1. Potential for Lake Nyasa cichlids
Mr K. Grom's views on the logistical problems which the project would now face are especially interesting to note, as he spent two years (1973–74) involved in a similar operation in Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika. Although being at the same time exporter and his own distributor (which could compound profit margins on both counts) this venture failed because of very difficult supply and transportation problems. This failure occurred for three main reasons:
shortages of essential supplies in the country, which even he who could import freely from abroad could not solve.
Unreliability of inland transportation although he could use three different means (road-rail-air) from Kigoma to Dar es-Salaam.
Cost of operation and irregular shipments of his production which he never could match with demand at his European outlet.
Tagis Aquarium is the only European importer to have tried to be at the same time exporter and importer, a dual role which has proved extremely difficult.
The consultant was interested to hear of these experiences and discussed the problems involved in activating the Lake Nyasa and Cabo Delgado projects.
Mr K. Grom feels strongly that it would be a waste of time and money to invest presently in the collecting station on the lake, in view of unsurmountable problems, not only in keeping the station supplied with equipment and maintenance, but also in having its production properly forwarded to Maputo. In the depressed market conditions for the Malawi cichlids this would amount to huge operational losses. To illustrate his point he mentioned that from September 1979 to 15 February he will have received 2 shipments only from the Malawi exporter (Mr S. Grant) and the first was barely sold out by the time of the consultant's visit with Tagis Aquarium. Mr Grom plans to place perhaps two shipment orders with Mr S. Grant before the end of the season in May next. During the same period (September 79/February 80) Tagis Aquarium has received three shipments of pool-raised Malawi cichlids from Florida. Although now three months old, the last shipment is still not entirely sold out, although the quality of the fishes and their prices are excellent.
Discussion on the species found by the author during his field trip to the lake in November last showed that Mr K. Grom already knew all the species and found few of them of any interest. However, on seeing pictures of Chiloglanis neumanni, and being told what the fish was, he felt that it was the only one worth importing in any quantity, but as the species was basically a river fish he thought it could probably be caught closer to Maputo, without waiting for the problematical re-activation of the collecting station on the lake.
At the tentative price of US$ 0.35 (which the author had adopted as it is more or less in line with similar South American species) Tagis Aquarium would very certainly be able to handle 1 000 monthly.
2. Cabo Delgado Reef Exploitation
Mr K. Grom concurred entirely with the consultant's conclusions about the feasibility of the marine fish project for the same reasons regarding the market and logistics.
Moreover, not only is he prepared to order in addition to his present imports from the Far East, but is also prepared to switch part of his orders with Indonesia, Singapore and Sri Lanka to the Mozambique supplies, under certain conditions to be outlined later.
He agreed with the consultant that basically, given the size and proximity of the reefs with the Pemba facilities and airport, the technical support which PESCOM could give with its maintenance shop, the problems which beset the Nyasa project could be avoided in Pemba.
We discussed one single problem of supply which might arise: oxygen cylinders, which cannot be transported by air, have to travel by road; they are available or can be made in Pemba but are in short supply in Lichinga.
The dealer expressed a keen interest in obtaining not only coral reef fishes and invertebrates but also mangrove species which could be provided from the Pemba area and also from Inhaca near Maputo.
The quality and variety of such shipments, as well as prices and packing standards, should at least be in line with those from the East.
At present Tagis Aquarium imports between 200 and 250 boxes of marine species monthly from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Singapore, of which about 130 from Jakarta alone (in weekly consignments). Mr Grom has discontinued Philippines supplies because of their poor quality and heavy losses.
His present imports are as follows:
Sporadic shipments are also received from Hawaii and the Caribbean.
The ratio of fishes to invertebrates in shipments from different sources are approximately as follows:
He does not import fishes from Singapore because they are in poorer condition and more expensive than similar fishes from Jakarta, although freight is much cheaper from Singapore, as we have seen from figures given for the flight connexions with Brussels (Aquaria Antwerp).
He calculates that there are only five importers of fishes from Mauritius in Europe.
Mr Grom, like all those interviewed, stated that invertebrates gave a better profit margin than fishes. Too many fishes have been imported by wildcat retailers who have brought a collapse in prices. Especially hit are fishes belonging to the Amphiprions, Dascyllus, Anthias species (which are small fishes) and the bigger fishes, such as Pomacanthus which are more expensive and need large tanks.
Invertebrates are rather left aside by importing retailers as they are more delicate to handle and the variety is such that they would have problems in stocking the very wide selection most of the important dealers have from various sources. Consequently, the major importers are always looking for new sources of supply, with endemic species and a conservative sales policy, to which retailers will not have access. In this context Tagis Aquarium is trying to obtain fishes from the Okinawa area in Southern Japan.
3. Techniques in Use for Far East Shipments
The consultant participated in the opening and storing of a shipment of 30 boxes of marine and brackishwater fishes from Sri Lanka, as well as the checking of a few boxes of invertebrates from Singapore included in a shipment of freshwater species.
Of the Sri Lanka shipment 22 1/2 boxes contained marine species and 7 1/2 boxes brackishwater species. Of the 22 1/2 boxes of marine species 2 1/2 contained invertebrates and 20 fishes. The invertebrates consisted of live coral heads, anemones, tube worms, sea stars and urchins. Fewer than expected were filled with crustaceans such as shrimps and coral crabs. The expert was told that the variety is never the same from one shipment to another and depends on the hazards of collecting.
The brackishwater specimens were Tetraodons, Syngnatids, Scatophagus and Psettus argentus, all in excellent condition.
3.1 Condition Upon Arrival
The coral reef fauna totalled 601 specimens packed individually in bags of assorted dimensions. Anemones were packed without water or oxygen according to standard.
The seams of the bags which had been made with a thin strip welding machine are less leak-proof than the broad wafered seams and in some instances leakages had resulted in the death of the fish. The seams had not been tapered (as in the better bags made in Europe) resulting in sharp corners in which some fishes were trapped. The thickness of the bags was good and the quality of polyethylene sheeting from which they were made was good, the sheets having an even thickness.
The water temperature within the bags was adequate and above 20°C; although the polystyrene boxes were not encased in any cardboard and very thin newspaper lining had been added to the boxes. This light insulation might be sufficient in mild climates but could cause losses should a shipment be delayed and the weather colder.
About 25 percent of the boxes had water on the bottom showing that some of the bags had leaked. In about 15 to 20 percent of the bags the water was cloudy. Several Labroides dimidiatus were found dead upon unloading, some having died several hours before. In all, about 15 out of a little more than 50 were dead upon arrival or within 24 hours. In the consultant's and the owner's opinion, the fish were too small to be packed and starved or sick from the start.
All anemones of one species were dead upon arrival, which shows that although they were packed according to the rules, there was something amiss. Most tube worms had been shipped without having first regurgitated their waste and the water was thus very heavily polluted. The worms however were alive.
It is often necessary when shipping large fishes with powerful spines to pack in double bags and to line the inner bag with a sheet of paper to prevent that both bags be punctured at the same time. Although efficiently packed the number of bags which had leaked showed the policy of stacking bags on top of each other; and even with the largest and heaviest bag at the bottom of the layer this resulted in inevitable leaks. Had the shipment been delayed for only a few hours, losses would have occurred by the drying out of several valuable specimens. As the boxes are often handled carelessly by ground crews at terminals, to put the heaviest on the bottom is misleading as boxes are often stacked upside down.
In Jakarta shipments, intermediary shelves divide the bags into thin layers which avoid crushing bags in the lower strata.
The consultant did not detect traces of a tranquillizer in any of the bags, and apparently none is used by the Far East shippers for marine species. Inquiring into this matter with several major importers, the consultant was told that it had been tried, but that marine fishes died when tranquillizers were used.
This is not corroborated by experiments which the consultant once conducted in which tranquillizers were used with outstanding success.
It is probable that tranquillizers used in this case were Ms 222 or Sodium Amytal which would explain the negative conclusions of the Asian exporters.
Some importers did not know why tranquillizers had not been used for marine fishes.
On being asked why the fishes were packed individually, even when their small size did not warrant such a labour-consuming policy, all importers had answered that it was safer. Asked if at first shipments had been made in bulk, as with freshwater fishes, those who knew said the method had been abandoned because of high losses.
Although importers were satisfied with the quality of the shipments of marine species, it was clear that none had made an analysis of the freight costs. The consultant spent some time determining the freight impact on every fish sent from Sri Lanka. If to date importers have not paid much attention to this aspect of the trade it is because of the thriving market for this part of their business; they simply take it for granted that marine fishes are costly to handle.
Any exporter who could reduce the impact of freight on the landed cost of marine fishes would have a considerable advantage over his competitors. This question deserves much attention.
3.2 Freight costs for a Sri Lanka shipment
The consignment from Sri Lanka weighed 330 kg for 30 boxes or 11 kg per box. The total freight costs for this shipment were US$ 1 063 or US$ 35.20 per box or US$ 3.20 per kg.
The freight for the 22 1/2 boxes of marine fauna was exactly 75 percent of the total or US$ 797.00. Leaving aside the fact that some of the invertebrates shipped without water were packed more lightly than the average of the shipment, 601 specimens of marine fauna cost US$ 1.32 each to transport from Colombo to Frankfurt.
As the number of fish per box varies wildly according to the size of the fish and the system of packing, small fishes such as Amphiprion, or Labroides are packed 70 or more to a box whilst big specimens are packed 4 to a box. Although aware that the larger specimens are costly to transport, exporters and importers alike do not take the specific landed cost into account when they pack, order or set their resale price.
The marine fishes from Colombo were packed in their boxes as follows: 65-24-30-28-80-9-22-12-15-16-87-36-14-7-9-7-13-6-4-7-17.
It is necessary to calculate each individual cost; a few examples are enough to illustrate the point. The box containing 4 fishes had:
|1 Pomacanthus annularis||6.00|
|1 Coris formosa (adult)||3.50|
|1 Holacanthus xanthurus||1.50|
The specimens were between 15 and 20 cm long. Although the total f.o.b. value for the 4 fishes was only US$ 17.00, the freight was US$ 35.20, or more than double the f.o.b. price, the price of each fish having to be increased by US$ 8.80 for freight. In the case of the Holacanthus the landed cost was about 700 percent of the price at which the exporter sold the fish.
For the box with 87 fishes, which upon arrival and within 24 hours had suffered 12 losses, the value of the fish f.o.b. Colombo was US$ 83.25; the freight per fish amounted to US$ 0.40, and in this case the ratio between f.o.b. price and freight for the 87 fishes, approximately 2 to 1.
This is the basic reason why Mr Grom refrains as much as possible from ordering large adult fishes of any species and prefers medium-sized fishes. This is also why it is very important for exporters of marine fauna to be aware of the need to improve the density of their packing without sacrificing safety and quality. Should the market for marine species, due to general economic conditions, begin to dwindle, only those exporters who will have succeeded in this direction and cut the freight costs, will remain in business. However, in the good market for such fishes which now prevails, importers are reluctant to have exporters change present techniques even to their cost; and it is evident that it is the exporters who have to initiate new methods.
This is even more evident from the few boxes of marine species which the consultant checked at Tagis Aquarium and from the consensus of other importers. If on opening the boxes the condition of the specimens was fair to good, but not excellent, it certainly was not commensurate with the labour needed to put the specimens into their individual bags.
In the same consignment, several boxes contained bulk bags of goldfish, one of the hardiest of all species to ship. It was evident from the pollution in the bags and the appearance of the fish that mortalities might become high. This in fact proved to be the case when the fishes were stored in their tanks.
This tends to indicate that the techniques of packing ornamental fishes have not been mastered by many of the Far East exporters.
One side-effect of this situation is that as technical approaches to conditioning and shipping ornamental fishes from the area are not a prerequisite to enter the trade, the only means of staying in business is by a constant reduction in the f.o.b. price by a multitude of small-scale operators. It also explains why, although freight charges from Jakarta are up to 100 percent more than from Singapore, major importers have switched their orders for marine species to Indonesia.
With regard to the Mozambique project and given the evident interest of the major dealers in marine fauna from the east coast of Africa provided the freight charges are similar to those from South Asia, the adoption of a systematic programme to improve packing techniques so as to decrease the impact of freight costs would offer substantial advantage over competitors. No effort should be spared to improve the quality and the density of the packing, after the collected fish and invertebrates have been properly conditioned.
3.3 Pricing of Far East Exports
There are wide discrepancies between the prices asked for the same species from Colombo, Singapore or Jakarta. These differences probably stem from the relative abundance of the various fish stocks in different fishing grounds, ignorance of prices asked from other sources, and perhaps costs of operation. What is however evident and a general phenomenon is the steady erosion of the average level of prices during the last 10 years.
In view of the fact that the trade of marine life is thriving and operating costs becoming more and more expensive, this situation would be paradoxal were it not provoked by the proliferation of exporters and importers alike.
On the other hand, as the impact of freight on landed cost is very high, the substantial increases in airfreight rates during the last five years have more than compensated for the decreases in f.o.b. prices suffered by exporters. The impact of the f.o.b. price reductions has not made shipments any cheaper for the importers, but their profit margins have had to be reduced to meet competition from retailers who import directly.
Thus many major importers have stayed clear of the marine species market, feeling that operating costs for fishes requiring the best and most experienced staff are such that it leaves them with a very narrow profit margin, if any.
The importers have little time, in their dynamic business, to examine each step of the operation; they work on broad premises. But, the following data illustrate how considerable the overhead expenses are for the dealer: to store 22 boxes of marine life, containing 600 specimens, in their respective tanks, took 8 hours time of the best trained technician (costing DM 20 an hour) plus the occasional aid of another member of the staff.
Earlier the consultant had witnessed the arrival and storing of a shipment of 1 500 specimens from Jakarta, each in an individual bag. It had taken 16 hours of manpower to store them in tanks.
Thus the problem for the Mozambique project is again not the level of f.o.b. prices, but the extent to which the project can make clear to importers how much they will be able to save by ordering, even at slightly higher prices f.o.b. Maputo, compared with orders placed elsewhere.
4. General Discussion
4.1 Storing Techniques
All importers use synthetic marine salts made from mineral salt mixes diluted in tap water and checked by densitometers. The advantages of this method are obvious:
the water is pollution free
there is a ready supply
the stability of the water which is free of any organic matter.
Whether the imports are shipped in natural sea water or synthetic water appears to have little impact on the acclimatization upon arrival. It might be that synthetic water in shipments gives a better check on pollution during transportation and it would eliminate an unknown factor if one were to use tranquillizers for shipments (impact on micro-organisms). On the other hand, as it is less prone to bacterial infection in the shipping bags (especially in presence of oxygen) the fish have a better chance of being free of pathogens, especially if they have spent their last days prior to shipment in synthetic water properly treated against infections.
If this was the case, and fishes have already spent several days undergoing the transition from marine to synthetic water in the exporters' tanks, their acclimatization in the importers' tanks will be much simpler than if they had to recover from the stresses of the shipment in an entirely new water environment.
The problems of acclimatization to captivity of wild-caught fishes are complex and little understood as yet. They appear to involve stress due to confinement, physiological and behavioural adaptations, changes in diets and feeding habits, which weaken the fishes. This is specifically the case when there have been several such adaptations in quick succession: from their original biotope to the exporters' often primitive facilities and overcrowded conditions; then the confines of the shipping boxes, and finally to the importers' fish compound, retailers' stores and finally the hobbyists' or public aquarium tanks.
It would be advisable for the exporter to help the fish to acclimatize by adapting his operation to the use of synthetic water following the first days of treatment after capture.
It is probable that some of the misgivings the importer may have regarding his potential suppliers stem in part from losses caused by using improperly-filtered natural seawater as much as from losses of fish which were basically unsuitable for exportation.
In light of the above, it is interesting to consider the storing procedure used by the best importers upon arrival of a consignment of marine fishes.
Once opened the boxes are emptied of their bags which are floated for a couple of hours in the largest tanks available. This serves to equilibrate the temperatures of the water in the bags and in the tanks. When opened, the bags are emptied into pails which once filled with water are then half-emptied and refilled with water coming from the tanks. There is thus a 50 percent replacement of the water in which the fish have travelled. The pails are then aerated with a powerful supply of air for about 30 minutes or longer, while the opening of the bags is in progress. Finally the fishes are taken out from the pails and stored in their vats.
When the number of compatible fish is sufficient, the newcomers are put into tanks of their own; if not, they are mixed with fishes from previous shipments. There is thus no quarantine station, and newly arrived fishes are not put into quarantine unless they show visible traces of infection, in which case they might be discarded at once instead of undergoing a painstaking and labour-consuming procedure. Marine fishes do not often show signs of such infections, although they might suffer from oodinum and ectoparasites; which are treated efficiently with a copper sulphate cure. Bruises and wounds are cured with chloramphenical, which is very sufficient. Invertebrates are not treated with copper sulphate, which is lethal to them.
Several importers also treat the new arrivals with methylene blue and acriflavine, although many are reluctant to do so because of a mistaken reaction by the retailers who consider that any tank showing evidence of such treatment contains unhealthy fish. To the contrary this should assure them that the fishes are properly attended to. This paradoxical situation is frequent, long-standing and worldwide.
Apart from the treatments which have been discussed here, no other appears to be used by any importer, except for the standard use of powerful dolomitic or coral gravel filters, ammonia retrievers and water emulsifiers, which appear to give excellent results, together with ozonifiers.
Tagis Aquarium has a special quarantine room for fishes proved to be diseased, which is out of bounds to visitors, and in which all equipment is used in the quarantine room only. Generally, however, unless the specimens are very valuable, sick fishes are discarded instead of being treated.
Fishes and invertebrates are fed in such a way that the water is not polluted by overfeeding. Freshwater fishes are fed two or three times daily instead of once in profusion.
Because of the cost of synthetic water, importers try as far as possible not to have to discard it and most tanks are in use for months without a major water change. This appears to function satisfactorily as the fishes at the Tagis Aquarium and at all major importers were in excellent condition.
For invertebrates such as live corals foods include freeze-dried or deep-frozen Artemia salina, Mysis, mussels and North Sea dried plankton.
Several specimens, both of invertebrates and fishes had been in Tagis Aquarium for several seasons, and in excellent condition; but it appears that gorgonians and hard corals, especially those with the smallest polyps were difficult to keep alive for a long period. While some importers are successful in dealing and healing these invertebrates others appear to have problems of preventing the broken edges from festering and eventually spreading throughout. Demand however is still wide for this type of delicate organisms. Although apparently the problem of transporting these organisms and healing their wounds can be and is already solved by a few of the best dealers, this achievement is certainly not universal in the trade. New methods of packing are much in need and should be the responsibility of the exporters.
4.2 Handling Techniques
One of the major reasons why the consultant chose Tagis Aquarium for his week-long survey was the fact that its marine department is headed by an exceptionally good technician with extensive knowledge of acclimatization of marine fauna based on long experience and a keen personal interest in the specialization of invertebrates.
I visited his home where he maintained a marine tank mostly devoted to invertebrates and we discussed the technical problems involved in successfully keeping invertebrates over a long period in a naturally balanced aquarium. If this can be achieved in a fresh water without too many technical problems it is very difficult to maintain a natural equilibrium in marine tanks because of the lack of suitable algae and plants which would use the organic wastes of the fish and prevent them becoming harmful. Only sophisticated public aquariums and scientific institutions are capable of maintaining such natural marine systems.
When I complimented Mr Grom on this staffmember's capabilities, he made a most acceptable suggestion that when the marine station in Maputo was ready to start operating, and only then, Tagis Aquarium could second his services to FAO, for a period no longer than one month, to train the Maputo staff in the handling and packing procedures of marine invertebrates. If considered appropriate, this matter could be followed up by FAO.
5. Evaluation of Tagis Aquarium Potential Orders for Coral Reef Species
Mr Grom's fundamental lack of interest in the future of the Lake Nyasa cichlids on a longterm basis is very evident (he feels that the only Malawi exporter left has no more than 2 or 3 years to export). In contrast, he is convinced that a steady and substantial flow of exports from the Mozambique reefs is feasible for the following reasons:
The enormous size of the coral biotopes, several times those in Kenya or Tanzania, warrant that fishing grounds will not only yield a wide variety of marine life, but also that they will not be exhausted.
The fact that the biotopes are spread not only in the north of the country but also close to Maputo implies that the variety might be even bigger than found in most South Asian habitats. The presence of endemic species of fishes should be duplicated perhaps on a larger scale by invertebrates.
The closeness of fishing grounds to the facilities of Pemba, the regular links with Maputo and the holding facilities there, tend to smooth operation, even when the disadvantages are taken into account (the proximity of supplies from nearby Swaziland might offset the shortages in Maputo and help maintain the project operational).
With regard to eventual orders from Mozambique, Mr Grom proposed a few preliminary conditions:
that the f.o.b. prices were in line with those from other sources for similar or identical fishes
that the quality of the shipments concerning health conditions and losses would also be in line with those prevailing with Far East shipments
that the freight costs and rates would be similar to the cheapest in the Far East (the author suggests an SCR of about US$ 3.00 to 3.50 per kg, for shipments of at least 100 kg from Maputo to the main European outlets)
that the sales policies be conservative and the number of outlets in Europe limited to only a few of the best and most responsible dealers, with the total exclusion of any people engaged in both importing and retailing.
Under such conditions Tagis Aquarium would be prepared to take probably between 25 and 40 boxes a month from Mozambique, and should the first shipments be successful under the above-mentioned conditions a very substantial part of orders to Jakarta, Singapore and Sri Lanka could be diverted to Mozambique. In this case orders could well exceed 100 boxes monthly.
This reaction of Tagis Aquarium reflects the opinions of all other exporters who were interviewed.
The use of the Lisbon airlink, although not yet put to the test, appears to Mr Grom to be preferable to the Rome connexion. He has tested the Johannesburg route for his shipments from Blantyre, Malawi, and found out that it worked properly.
From contacts with only three importers in Europe (Malawi-Tanganyika Imports, Sweden; Aquaria Antwerp, Belgium; and Tagis Aquarium, Federal Republic of Germany) the consultant feels confident that those three dealers could take between them a minimum of 100 boxes of marine species from Mozambique.
Since the consultant's survey of European markets in September 1979, new dealers have shown interest and contacted him concerning imports from Mozambique. These include Sidoli in France, Euraquarium in Italy, and Aquatic Nurseries in the United Kingdom. They are all important European importers.
It is thus very probable that the total monthly orders from European dealers to Mozambique would total well over 200 boxes a month at first and perhaps double in a few years' time. Setting a value on this level of exports is not easy at this stage of the feasibility study. From current prices perhaps the first year sales total f.o.b. Maputo would be around US$ 8 000 to US$ 9 000 a month during the sales season; perhaps more, depending upon the efficiency of collecting.
Putting the value of a 20 to 25 box shipment at about US$ 1 000 would mean that every dealer who was interviewed and responded favourably would receive only a single such shipment a month, when it is apparent that many would prefer and have the capacity to take shipments more frequently.
In the first year, expenses might barely be covered by the value of the sales (about US$ 80 000 to 100 000). Subsequently, however, an increase in sales with overhead expenses remaining more or less stable and yield increasing with efficiency, would guarantee a substantial net profit.
It still remains to determine a proper course of action in exploiting the wide collecting grounds bearing in mind the lack of experience to be counteracted during the early stages of operation) and the type and quantity of equipment needed both for collecting and conditioning the fish and invertebrates for exports.
Annex to Appendix 6
On 12 February 1980, the consultant spent a day visiting Euraquarium in Bologna.
This company is the largest of its kind as yet visited by the consultant in Europe and very probably one of the largest in the world. The premises are divided in two sections: one dealing with imports and wholesaling of both freshwater and marine fishes (with 22 employees); and the other a manufacturing and distributing department dealing with all accessories pertaining to the ornamental fish trade. Euraquarium has a staff of about 100 engaged full time.
The manager, Mr Paccagnella, the fish compound manager, and the import/export department head, expressed a willingness to order marine species from Mozambique and estimated a potential between 30 and 50 boxes monthly.
They import from most well known sources and also from the Philippines, which other dealers avoid for reasons already explained.
Euraquarium has not been interested in Lake Nyasa cichlids for several years. They feel that their present needs for these fishes, small as they are, are best filled with supplies from tank-raised specimens imported from the Far East.
This company is the only one which might be supplied through the direct flight between Maputo and Rome, but as distances between Rome and Bologna necessitate a long road journey they would prefer consignments of at least 40 boxes.
Euraquarium is also interested in the algae-eating Chiloglanis neumanni of which they could take substantial numbers.