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Conservation breeder's award program
The concept of a program to encourage conservation efforts in the form of a
breeder's award program is not new and had been brought up before to the AKA
BOT. One of the most well thought out proposals was submitted by two folks
from NFKA (don't remember who it was from Martino, Kelley, Franco and/or
Niedzielski). In essence it did mirror the current BPA in the demonstration
of success but the key element was more points were gained in each
succeeding generation of fish the breeder was able to produce.
It would be nice to recognize individuals who are successful. On one hand,
though, if you are really desparate to be recognized maybe accumulating
points would be your only goal and the species of fish undertaken for this
effort might not be filling a need for the hobby, maybe duplicating a very
well worn road. Success also put a premium on space to handle the fish
successfully and this might effect quality. Maybe this is the proper
perspective we should all have in the first place. Hence the effort to
acquire points may end up being counterproductive.
What is interesting is that when the Gerhard Schrieber award was first
presented, this was to go to an individual exhibiting a fish that was rare
or uncommon in the hobby and was present in the hobby primarily due to
efforts of the exhibitor in the first place. I received the award in one of
the first few years it was presented exhibiting "Roloffia guiniensis" which
I had maintain through at least 2 generations but few in the hobby were
keeping. I also remember Hans Behr receiving the award for Aphy. bivitattum
Tiko the next year, again a fish not many other than Hans had been
maintaining but in general was considered the main source for the species.
Over the years the award has morphed into "most endangered fish" and "rarest
fish". I hadn't exhibited fish at the National for several years or
attended until I start going again recently. A few years back I entered a
pair of Cyp. alvarezi which I had been maintained for 5-7 years at the time
(don't remember) but was dismayed to see the award go to a pair of wild
Aphy. jorgenscheeli. While my entry had been defensive (i.e., so I didn't
have to judge the class!), it was pretty easy to see that there were few
rivals for the Schrieber award and the alvarezi were the leading candidates.
The alvarezi were also sold for a relatively low price at the auction which
made me ask if the effort to maintain this uncommon, extinct-in-the-wild
species was really appreciate by the people in attendance or if the AKA in
general understood species maintenance.
After an experience like this it can be asked what good is your effort to
keep something going. On the other hand you can also get continuous
requests from some individuals to continually acquire a rare species from
you as the primary breeder. After several shipments you need to evaluate if
it is worthwhile to continually "kill off" your stock in this mode. You
tend to get greedy and become selective in who you send these fish to. You
may tend to think that you are the only person capable of maintaining the
species which in its own right can lead to disaster as well.
So in the end if you really want a program like this, think about how it is
structured so that it produces effective results. Does it address
maintenance? Does it target the array of species you desire? Does it
recognize and/or reward the effort properly to encourage participation? Is
it a difficult program to administer?
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