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NFC Breeders Program Invitaion


        As most of you know, I am the program administrator for the NFC
Breeders Program. For those of you new to NFC, or for those that have
been around from the beginning but are wondering where the Breeders
Program is heading, let me take a few moments of your time to give you a
description of our program, and how this program helps our native fish.

        Let me begin by saying that although still in the formative
stages, our program goals are clear. We intend to obtain native fish,
raise and breed them, study them, share what we learn, and help others
appreciate the diversity of life that these unique fish represent. In
the process we will create a data source on many fish species, and
become a source of revenue to further research efforts, conservation
projects, and education in many formats.

        The membership of the Breeders Program runs the gamut of just
starting in keeping fish of any sort, to long time and well respected
"old hands", to experienced fish biologist. We all share a common vision
of one day helping to provide the missing life history information that
is so sorely lacking for hundreds of our native non game fish species.

        Hundreds? Yes. Really. Just a couple of years ago I was one of
the folks that sort of think that the biologists have all the
information on the fish all nailed down. Wrong! If it's not a game fish,
there's the high likelihood that it has MAYBE been named, and briefly
outlined in a life history at some university somewhere.

        A case in point is a fish I am very familiar with, the bluehead
shiner - Pteronotropis hubbsi. I have been "down to the creek" catching
"minners" since a boy, and when we used to go to the Saline River area
for outings, I usually caught some of these "pretty fishes". I never
thought that little was known of them. Not that they are rare where they
are found, its just that there has been little money spent on the study
of fish except for the baitfish and game fish industries. It's a shame
that even as little as I know of these fish, I probably know as much as
anyone alive about the habits and life of these beautiful bluehead
        The Breeders Program wants to change all that. We will use the
time and talents of the aquarist among us to get the missing
information, and share it in such a way as to make it accessible for
anyone that wants to know, quickly and easily, all in one place.
        And it will not cost the taxpayer a dime! As a matter of fact,
the states that allow us to have access to their native fish will get a
report from us about the species, and the fees collected from us to
allow the taking and use of these fish.
        Even the average angler down at the water gets something from
this deal, without even knowing it. The game fish use the non game fish
as prey in many cases, life for fish being what it is. The more we know
of the different interactions of ALL the species that make up the
habitat of the game fish, the better chance we have to perpetuate the
great fishing that so many people enjoy today. Without a program like
ours, we might never know what small, obscure fish species is a major
contributor to the fry or adults of the game fish unless we find out the
hard way after the obscure ones are gone and the fishing dwindles off
after a few years when the adults of the game fish die off and no young
are there to replace them.

        But with the NFC Breeders Program diligently doing the work
behind the scenes, Everyone wins!
        If you are a current NFC member, or want to become one, please
consider what you might contribute for the future native fish aquarists
and anglers by joining the NFC Breeders Program. Your only cost or
obligation is following our Code of Ethics and sharing the results of
your time and talents to fulfill our common vision.

        Thanks for your time.

Herb Harris
NFC Breeders Program administrator