Posted on 25 June 2018
Guy Tam Hyock is a fish farmer from northern Madagascar
As the President of the Association of Private Producers (APPA), he is an expert in breeding endemic freshwater fish. His organization seeks to distribute endemic fish to different ponds within the region. In collaboration with WWF, he and his association have trained the upland communities of northern Madagascar in fish farming, in order to help promote income-generating opportunities in the region.
Guy began farming immediately after he left school in the 1980s. On the 2-hectare site, his organization now has 13 pools in which 23 endemic fish species reside. "All of the endemic fish that I breed are on the IUCN red list," he says. In fact, a team from IUCN will visit the basins this year to ascertain the health of certain fish before releasing them into the wild. This is an important step towards the safeguarding of Malagasy fish, and the result of 30 years of hard work by Guy Tam Hyock, now known affectionately as “The Fish Whisperer.”
“I even have a species that was declared extinct in its natural habitat in 2000, but rediscovered in 2011. Today, thousands of individuals of this species live in captivity in our basins,” he says. This is a proud accomplishment for a man whose greatest passion is to breed fish.
There are more than 23,000 species of fish in Madagascar. 200 of these species are endemic, meaning that they only live in Madagascar. Significantly, nearly 80% of these endemic fish are in danger of extinction. “My vision is that the water bodies of the region are like 20 years ago, teeming with fish. This is what justifies all our efforts,” he concludes with optimism. “That's why we work with partners like WWF. We need to protect the forest to avoid the silting up of rivers,” he says, convinced of the need to protect the habitats of Madagascar's extraordinary freshwater fish.