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Re: Dealing with the real fish? problem

On Wed, 24 Jun 1998, Herb Harris wrote:

More Devil's advocate...
> > What would the carrot be?
> 	Involvement on a personal level that gives positive incentives to do
> what is needed to get accurate information, and act upon it. If a person
> doesn't care about a problem, little can really be done to change the
> resulting behavior.
> 	What might this mean? Does the person like to fish? Does the person
> have kids that are interested in learning about fish? Would the person
> enjoy trying to keep some native fish at home for the kids to really get
> to know?

While I agree with your sentiment, I think you are way off reality.  I think
it is going to be a long time in this country when people actually care about
non game fish.  It's hard enough to even get them to vote.....  The other
thing you need to remember is Arizona has more than it's fair share of
rednecks, and many folks see endangered fishes and the like as impediments to
development (ie, them making money).  I do agree though, one needs to start

> 	Maybe, but if the law tries to force compliance of measures designed to
> stop misguided attempts to release unwanted fish "to help them", it sort
> of squashes that plan to say the least.

That's kinda like saying we'll do away with speed limits and expect people to
drive at a safe speed.  In my view it should be illegal to translocate or
introduce any fish everywhere (except aquaria in the case of non threatened
species). One of the greatest problems is I don't think aquarists in this
country are sufficiently educated to not release their unwanted aquarium
fishes in local waterways.  At least having the law written in fishing
regulations makes people aware of it.  Sure, it would be much better to
educate them deeper, but like you say that rarely happens.  Education is
definately the key. 

> 	In addition, what of the problem of the fish introductions that are
> already there? Just leave them and hope for the best? Eradication
> measures? What measures will work that will leave the natives unharmed
> for the most part? 

Once you have introduced them they are virtually impossible to get rid of.
The only hope for the future is the development of species specific poisons,
some of which were developed in the Great Lakes lamprey eradication days.

> The same fish that's a pest and definitely
> undesirable in one place and circumstance may be highly prized in
> another.

For what?  Fishkeepers or conservation?  It's not happened yet conservation
wise as far as I am aware.  It would also potentially be complicated by not
necessarily knowing the source of the fish.  While I think the NFC's efforts
to sell exotic fishes is a good one, you're not likely to be able to sell
10,000 red shiners (which wouldn't be hard for two people to collect in a 
few hours if you know where to go).  While selling exotics is good
financially, it does little to alleviate the problem as the number of fish you
can sell is limited for most species. 

I fully agree with your education statements.  Texas is the only state I am
aware of that has put out a poster about the dangers of releasing fish.  I've
not seen one yet so I can't comment on it's content.

Peter Unmack

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