Give What You Can

Olazul Supports Responsible Trade Practices

Olazul’s juvenile capture and open-ocean growout production model offers an alternative to unsustainable techniques for collecting and transporting marine aquarium species. We work with people at all stages of the supply chain to minimize mortality. A sustainable aquarium trade holds the potential to increase the value of source habitats and incentivize coral reef conservation. Let’s ensure the animals in your aquarium help protect coral reefs and create more value for coastal communities! 

Sustainable Aquariums

Destructive methods for wild collection of tropical marine aquarium fish and invertebrates—like using cyanide, breaking corals or overfishing breeding adults—are damaging reef ecosystems and contributing to food insecurity in Southeast Asia.

It’s time to revitalize aquariums—to enable hobbyists to buy marine aquarium species that support the protection of their home reefs and generate sustainable income for vulnerable communities.

Olazul is testing techniques for rearing wild-caught juvenile aquarium fish and invertebrates. We plan to demonstrate a replicable and scalable model that enables coastal communities to improve their standard of living by protecting their marine resources. Widespread application of this model to meet growing demand for healthy marine aquarium species will empower hobbyists to protect coral reefs and coastal communities each time they purchase a new fish or invertebrate for their home aquarium.

We support conservation of coral reef ecosystems through establishment of marine protected areas. This game-changing program enables vulnerable coastal communities to earn essential income in compliance with resource management plans. Our low-cost technology makes application possible in remote locations with the greatest need for livelihoods supporting conservation. The key components of Olazul’s Sustainable Aquariums program include:

Juvenile Capture
Overfishing breeding adults threatens the reef population. Olazul’s juvenile capture methods reduce pressure on adult populations by targeting marine aquarium species at a more sustainable life-cycle stage. Our low-cost technology makes application possible in remote locations with the greatest need for livelihoods supporting conservation.  
Open-Ocean Growout
Onshore facilities to grow juvenile marine aquarium species to adulthood require specialized feed, water filtration and chemistry systems that are difficult to use in remote communities. Olazul’s open-ocean growout reduces stress on aquarium species and minimizes problems with water chemistry by keeping them in their natural environment.  
Supply Chain Transparency
Many marine aquarium supply chains are long and complicated, mixing animals from different locations. Olazul's technological innovations help minimize mortality and preserve the story of each animal, allowing hobbyists to learn more about the animal's native reef and the people that delivered it to market.  

Poisoned Pets

Blue tang have a sad story to tell. The United States imports 11 million live aquarium fish per year, comprising 1800+ species. To supply the hobbyist market, divers in Southeast Asia gather blue tang and other marine aquarium species from coral reefs. While some in the supply chain can claim virtually no mortality, destructive techniques (like using cyanide or breaking corals) and poor handling continue to drive high mortality rates in many places. Use of cyanide can kill between 30-80% and, in severe cases, as high as 90% of the fish captured this way. This results in the removal of millions more animals from coral reefs than required to meet demand.

Coral reefs are biodiversity hotspots, hosting 25 percent of all marine fish species. Each animal on the reef performs an important role in keeping the ecosystem healthy and overfishing particular species for the marine aquarium trade can disturb the natural balance. When divers use cyanide to stun target fish, they kill hard corals that provide food and hiding places for many reef dwellers. Once coral dies in an area impacted by overfishing and pollution, the reef can fall down “the slippery slope to slime” that ends in an ugly, algae-dominated wasteland.

Destruction of coral reefs threatens the safety and food security of the communities where collection occurs, yet many rely on the trade for essential cash income. Apart from accidental exposure to cyanide, divers collecting marine aquarium species are at risk from diving methods that can result in a shortened lifespan or severe injury when done incorrectly or with faulty equipment.

What You Can Do

  • Call on governments to enforce bans on cyanide fishing
  • Don't purchase marine aquarium species caught with cyanide
  • Ask pet stores and suppliers where and how your animals were caught
  • Support Olazul's work to innovate new marine aquarium species production systems


Olazul is a non-profit working with coastal communities to design new ways of producing and marketing popular
ocean products - like shrimp and aquarium fish - that incentivize marine conservation.

Please consider making a charitable contribution to our programs today!