Over the course of the multi-day workshops, which were provided free to aquarium fish collectors who are part of the local trade association/cooperative, ORNAPESCA, Project Piaba Brazil’s group of local experts covered topics such as basic water quality management, fish anatomy and biology, proper handling and housing techniques, and identifying sick or unhealthy fish. The materials for these trainings were specifically designed by fish health experts like Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan of Oregon State University and trade partners like Segrest Farms, and then developed into a regionally appropriate format by Project Piaba Brazil’s team of fishery experts, many of whom are themselves native to Amazonas State. The training in Barcelos, which in 2016 had 21 local participants, this year attracted 35 fish collectors from the region, and the session in Santa Isabel brought in an additional 10 fish collectors.
Thanks to Oceanario de Lisboa and World Pet Association who provided funding for the two training sessions, which covered travel and accommodation expenses for the trainers as well as lunch provided to all participating fishers. “We really appreciate that funding for this training came from both the zoo and aquarium community and the pet trade,” Scott Dowd, Executive Director of Project Piaba and Biologist at New England Aquarium, commented. “Oceanario de Lisboa, which is one of 28 zoos and aquariums with Rio Negro fishery exhibits, and the World Pet Association, a wonderful partner and sponsor of our work, have been very generous to help fund these workshops,” he continued.