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Re: Proposed anti-plant legislation

Hanna Witte Orr wrote:

>There was an article in last week's (? or the week before that) Science
>News about a monster sea plant spreading out in the Mediterranean. It
>was introduced accidentally by a marine aquarium in Monaco and has so
>far covered a lot of the western Mediterranean. The problem with this
>plant  is that it gets caught in nets and propellers and can grow an
>entire plant from any little fragment - so you could say that it was
>spread mainly by humans... :) (Kind of like a marine bindweed)
>Don't misunderstand me, I'm not supporting this piece of legislation;
>but I do think that everybody should know what can happen. I also think
>that people with plant aquaria are the ones that know best and don't go
>around dumping plants into waterways (they are great on compost if you
>really need to get rid of them...). 

I hate to tell you, but unfortunately, there are a _lot_ of aquarium
keepers (I won't dignify them with the term "aquarist") who do _not_ know
better than to dump plants and fish into our water ways.  We've had people
come on this list and want to know what ornamental plants they can put in
their natural ponds.  There are several "pirhana" scares each year across
the country. (usually Pacu, but still non-natives)  Florida is over-run by
ornamental non-native plants, fish and other exotic animals that have
gotten loose, many form fish farms and growers in FL that _certainly_
should "know better".  There are pup fish populations in desert water holes
that are threatened by the introduction of mollies and guppies!

I'm sure people who keep floating heart in their ornamental ponds don't
think of the fact that the profuse floating seeds can be eaten by birds,
which then eliminate them into natural water bodies.

Many aquarists like to keep a few native fish.  What do they do with them
when they're done?  Often they release them where they were caught.  Seems
OK?  What about pathogens they may have picked up in the fish room?  What
about stray bits of algae or higher plant material that hitch-hike in the
transport water or in the digestive track of the fish?  Food for thought,
isn't it?

One of the best ways we can protect our hobby as _well_ as the environment
is to educate others to act responsibly at every opportunity. 

BTW, you'd better make sure that compost pile doesn't abutt any swampy
area... many "aquatic" plants are perfectly able to thrive in any soil that
stays continually damp.  People don't always think of these things.    It's
not only boaters and duck hunters that can be stupid.<g>

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association