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Re: Sterility, Teratogenic Effects, and Other Improbabilities -- or - the Roe not taken

A fish needn't be diseased to carry a potentially harmful
pathogen.  For example, an animal can carry a virus that
can cause a disease without actually having the disease, or
without acutally having the disease yet.

If the fish was carrying a potentially harmful pathogen when captured, it would reintroduce the same pathogen to a population where presumably other fish were also carrying the same pathogen, so there would be no effective change in the population. The only way I could see that this would be an issue is that if that normally dormant pathogen was awakened somehow during the period of captivity, in which case Tom would most likely no reintroduce the fish. I don't think there is a problem with qualified people doing research such as this, and I think Tom has demonstrated over the years that he does know what he is doing in this particular field.

If you catch a wild pond fish in a cup and put it back
right away -- not much chance of changing the pond.  But I
would guess that the longer you have the specimen in
another environment (tank or otherwise), the greater the
chances that changes to the pond can occur with
reintroduction.  How sterile and isolated are these fish?
Hmmmm. . . How sterile and fastidiously isolated are these
fish?   Is there a protocol?  Is there a routine?  The
chance is probably small for changes but with any
reintroductions, the chance for changes is probably small
in almost all cases, anyhow.  It's not a matter of high
probability but of potentially large impact.  The
probability for a undesired effect is low but the effect
can potentially be large.  The two factors combined
represent the risk.

Seems unlikely that something new would develop in such a short time frame. Seems more likely that something pre-existing but dormant being awakened would more likely.

> In fact I would think that the threat of foreign disease
> introduction is much higher from people (probably most of
> us) who dump the water from their weekly water changes
> down the drain.  That water will eventually make it into
> lakes and streams.

Probably true, but it depends  a lot on which person and
what they dump.  Anyhow, disturbances in an environ aren't
a justification for further disturbances  -- in fact, they
might even be reasons to avoid even further disturbances.

For anyone concerned with sending their tank water down the drain along with live critters, just mix the old tank water with some bleach in a bucket before dumping it. The bleach treatment is in effect chlorinating the water, which is a very effective way to kill just about anything aquatic.


***************************** Waveform Technology UNIX Systems Administrator