The Arowana Initiative

The vision of RISE is to maintain healthy wild populations of all Arowana and their associated habitat in order to ensure the long term survival of these ancient fish. RISE will use the business as a pathway to collaborate with others also interested in maintaining wild Arowana and the aquatic ecosystems they are dependent upon.

The Arowanas are an ancient freshwater bony fish of the family Osteoglossidae, also known as bonytongues.[1] In this family of fish, the head is bony and the elongated body is covered by large, heavy scales, with a mosaic pattern of canals.

The dorsal and anal fins have soft rays and are long based, while the pectoral and ventral fins are small. The name “bonytongues” is derived from a toothed bone on the floor of the mouth, the tongue, equipped with teeth that bite against teeth on the roof of the mouth. The arowana is a facultative air breather and can obtain oxygen from air by sucking it into its swim bladder, which is lined with capillaries like lung tissue.[3]

Australia has two species of these fish – the Northern and Southern Saratoga. The Fitzroy Basin, in Central Queensland Australia holds the only native wild population of Southern Saratoga (Scleropages Leichartdi) found on the planet. The Southern Saratoga and the aquatic ecosystems they depend upon will be the focus of the first phase of the Arowana Initiative.

Initially the focus for the first phase is to collect data on the fish captured during guided fishing and reconnaissance trips, along with water quality and other waterway health indicators as part of the normal business activities. In time more complex scientific studies will be identified and implemented in association with research institutions. This will be paired with on ground waterway, wetland and riparian habitat regeneration and enhancement in areas identified for intervention.

The phase two goal is to draw upon the successes and learnings from phase one and collaborate with our northern neighbouring asian countries. To look beyond our own country and help inspire and equip others with better research and management activities that help ensure the long term survival of other species of arowana, is one of the long term success factors. The Myanmar Arowana and Asian Arowana will be a particular focus for phase two, should the initiative prove successful.  

To help contribute toward these goals and do more than just collecting data and participating in research, RISE Environmental & Guiding Service will direct 10% of profits generated by the business each year towards the Arowana Initiative. It’s easy to promise this, but we believe transparency and accountability are important to ensure we deliver this pledge. To help make this clear to our clients and collaborators, this ‘allocation’ will be determined by a qualified accountant, declared publicly and managed through a separate account. Funds will be allocated by taking into account advice of Arowana Initiative collaborators and determined by RISE.

So that’s the Arowana Initiative in a nutshell. Obviously plans and activities will grow and morph as time goes on and we welcome others who want to collaborate on this initiative to get in touch – the more the merrier!