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Re: Position paper; comments

A couple of suggestions.  First, the paper could be formatted to make 
it more readable.  For instance, the opening paragraph could be in a 
section called "Existing Problems", the second "The Role of NANFA, 
the "points to consider" could be referred to as "Benefits of Native 
Fishkeeping and Propagation" (also correct the numbering, there are 
two #2's), followed by "NANFA Recommendations".

One area which I think should be added is the potential for catastrophic fish kills.
  For instance, a few years ago here in Waterbury, 
VT, the direct release of chlorinated municipal pool water directly to the 
Winooski River caused a major kill of trout and other fish residing 
in the river for a considerable distance downstream.  A 
similar disaster could be easily caused by a truck or train 
derailment which could release hazardous materials into a waterbody.  
If it occurred in the Poultney River, for instance, a major 
population of the Eastern Sand Darter left in Vermont could be wiped 
out overnight.  Similar problems could happen with 
agricultural chemicals, waterway destruction due to flooding, 
drought, etc.
While the physical system may recover, rare species of fish residing 
in a particular water system may not.  Species maintained in captive 
breeding programs can be restocked into waters once they become 
suitable, but if there is no population left in a particular 
waterway, it may be gone forever.  Captive breeding programs and
 the fishes maintained by them should be thought
 of as biological insurance policies.  An oft-quoted statistic is 
that there are more desert pupfish in Europe (being maintained by a
number of aquarists, particularly in East Germany) than there is in
their original habitat.  While the original stocks were probably
obtained without the proper CITES paperwork and smuggled out of the US, the 
fact remains that if the native pupfish were ever wiped out, the species could 
be restocked and would not be another listing in the roster of 
extinct species.

There should be a reasonable process that allows for the
 capture of certain threatened or endangered species by licensed persons
 for research and captive breeding.  The more endangered a species is, the
 less likely it is to recover on its own and the more likely it is to disappear
 in the face of a incident that threatens its habitat.  An excellent example is 
the wood duck, which almost became extinct in the early 20th century due
 to elimination of large trees used by the ducks for nesting.  It 
responded well  to man-made nest boxes, coming 
back from the brink of extinction, due to the efforts of 
conservation minded persons and governmental agencies who provided nest
 boxes.  Now the riverine forests have recovered, wood ducks are quite common
 and may even have a higher population than originally existed, simply due to 
nest boxes.

If some help could bring back the wood duck from the 
brink of extinction when they lay only about a dozen eggs, couldn't 
fish, who lay hundreds or thousands of eggs, also respond to a 
helping hand that would help the fry grow to breeding size where they 
could be restocked?

Personally, I don't think we can afford the 
isolationist mentality that leaves a distressed population to recover 
on its own against the very forces that caused its decline in the 
first place.  If we contributed to its decline, we have a moral 
obligation to help it recover and preserve it from extinction.  To do 
otherwise contributes to its disappearance, where we all are the 
poorer for its demise.