[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Dealing with the real fish? problem

On Thu, 25 Jun 1998 peter.unmack at ASU_Edu wrote:

> On Thu, 25 Jun 1998, mcclurg luke e wrote:
> Your post is quite good as it raises many of the important issues we have been
> discussing.  Please don't take any of my comments personally, I'm not trying
> to beat on you, just the issues involved.
> > "once caught, never released" has been interesting. 
> My interpretation of what NFC means by this is that any non-native fish once
> caught is not returned alive to the water.  A non-native fish is any that
> didn't originally occur in that waterbody.  Obviously exceptions to this exist
> as at times threatened species are sometimes put elsewhere when they can no
> longer inhabit their native range.

Point of contention:  no fish or animal is truly "native".  Populations
rise and fall shift and change.  A fish is only native because man has
documented it in that location.  What if we found a body of water after a
earthquake which allowed two watersheds to intermingle where before they
were separate?  It DOES happen.  My point here is that while it is
reasonable to say a South American Cichlid will not naturally invade the
Great Lakes.  It is also NOT reasonable to say that a fish found in one
watershed cannnot colonize another...see below.

> (And actually, I just thought of one deliberate translocation that has had
> conservation benefits and that is the Sacramento perch.  It is now virtually
> extinct in the Sacramento River (CA), but is common in many lakes outside it's
> natural range.  It was originally stocked for angling purposes.)
> My personal stand is the same, although I'll extend it beyond it's original
> use by NFC to say that once a fish has been removed from it's habitat and
> taken home it should never be returned to the wild.  If one brings a fish
> home, adds it to their fishrooms, then puts it back where they caught them it
> provides a risk of introducing diseases that are not already present since
> aquarium stuff comes from all over the world.  No fishroom is free from
> disease and few folks practice quaranteen proceedures necessary to prevent
> their spread between tanks.  

 Very true.  But would you agree that if you are keeping fish from a
specifici location and watershed that the diseases in your tank is the
disease that came from that same location?  Exotic diseases are a problem
I understand that...don't get me wrong.  I'm stressing the need to not
OVER-react to disease threats.  Simple common sense will normally win the


> > In Kansas, there is quite a bit of catching, transporting, and
> > re-releasing of fishes.  I have done it myself, just two days ago as a
> > matter of fact, with Channel Cats, Bass and various Sunfishes.  Generally,
> > I can catch something from a lake or river and transport it to one of our
> > family owned farm ponds.
> You could be doing things like spreading diseases potentially from one
> watershed to another.  Albeit your intentions in all of this are good, however
> you are likely not aware of the dangers of this, hence my point about a lack
> of education amongst most aquarists.  It's not really your blame, the "system"
> just isn't working the way it should to be effective.

  I don't worry about it since there are only two main watersheds in
Kansas.  That sounds stupid but here me out.  As a student of biology,
Kansas biology especially, I know the conditions of these watersheds
better than many outside the state.  In short, they suck!  The fish I
transport are not from the Arkansas drainage to the Kansas drainage.
(perhaps I wasn't clear on that)  They are from the Kansas drainage to
farm ponds whose run-off goes back INTO the Kansas drainage.  Sport fishes
are raised by Wildlife and Parks officials in hatcheries around the state
from BOTH drainages and stocked in BOTH drainages.  Whatever "killer
diseases" might have been lurking out there have LONG since been
intermingled.  NO the threat in this state is not from fish moved between
drainages...again see below for more...but from pesticides, feed lots, and
urban sprawl sucking the very life out of our rivers.  Fishes in this area
tolerate disease much better than they do the other things. 

> > Anyway, I have stocked several ponds with Bluegills, Largemouth Bass and
> > Sunfishes caught from various localities througout the state.
> With exotic fish this doesn't matter so much that they came from various
> localities (except in regards to disease).  However, you shouldn't mix native
> fish from different locations, or put them in ponds where they are likely to
> escape and mix with local stocks.  Fish vary in many potential ways between
> locations, genetically, behaviourally, etc etc.  The term local adaptation
> here is most appropriate.  If you mix stocks which are not locally adapted to
> one that is you often end up with an inferior genetic stock.  These processes
> may not be reversable. 

I have to disagree with this as well.  At least in part...again see below.


> > All fish caught were legal to keep I might add. 
> That's part of my whole point.  We base our justifications on the law, not
> what is right or wrong since that is typically a personal judgement with
> which everyone differs. (and I'm not trying to pass judgement on you here)
> That's why I think having the laws is important even if they aren't enforced.  

But lets not "freak" and put a blanket, bandaid approach law everywhere
when it does not apply to every locality.


> > As far as the non-game species I have caught and then released many of
> > them on the shorelines.  I haul in a trap and then sort through what I
> > want and put the rest back.  
> There is little wrong with releasing native fish at their point of capture at
> the same time you catch them. 
> > Pumpkinseeds are supposed to be introduced
> > in this state, but I have thrown them back.  Ditto with Red Eared Sunfish.
> > I do this because the State and Federal agencies have determined them to
> > not be threat to the native fauna. (and destroying them MAY be illegal!) 
> > If I caught a Jewel Cichlid or a Pacu, it would be 'dead meat'.
> How is a pacu different to a sunfish?  How often are state agencies right
> regarding what is a threat and what is not?


  The same argument can be said for a Peacock Bass.  One was place there
after scientific study...good or bad...one was placed by a misinformed
individual.  One may be lawful to destroy...the other may not.  I'm
betting the Pacu wouldn't be, but if I'm found to be going around and
annihilating sunfish at my leisure it might get me in jail. OR worse yet
cause a knee jerk reaction law futher restricting collecting.

  We all make mistakes sometimes
> too remember.
> > What's good for
> > Arizona or California just may not be applicable to Kansas and Missouri.
> My specific statement regarding moving fish around is applicable everywhere in
> the world if the goal is to leave natural fish assembledges for future
> generations.  It is based on a princible, not geography.

 With all due respect...whose principles?  I don't mean to be insulting,
but again, a muddy Kansas stream is far different than an Arizona spring.
I see both of our philosophies have strong points, but they also have
flaws.  I think reasoning and WISE compromise solves more in the end than
a one person, or one blanket approach to the issues.


> > While the
> > removal of exotics to protect endangered species and eco-systems is to be
> > applauded, not every introduced species is an exotic.  Remember, nature is
> > constantly changing and new species replace old ones.  That fish you
> > consider to be exotic or introduced MAY have made it there through a
> > natural process and deserves it's right to colonize.
> Every introduced species _is_ exotic.  Fish do not recognise political
> boundaries, they recognise watersheds (broadly speaking).  It's going to be a
> hell of along time before bluegills ever swim over the Rockies.  The type of
> processes you describe here take millions of years and alot of chance.  When
> was the last time you know of a fish that naturally expanded it's distribution
> without human help? 

It happens all the time here.  We have a wonderful bird called the Great
Blue Heron that doesn't recognize boundaries OR watersheds.  They have
"stocked" fish in waters that had none before.  In our own family farm
pond we had Green Sunfish AND Pumpkinseeds appear without any human help.
NO, someone did not place them there, some BIRD did.  I have personally
witnessed Herons open their mouths to take a fish only to have several
small ones drop into the water its fishing.  How do you suppose some of
these species got so widely distributed in the first place?  And before
you suggest it... we do not live within miles of any creek that carries
the two species and there are enough high obstacles (small waterfalls
mainly) to prevent invasion.  It's possible, but not the only possibility.
Also, don't forget about snapping turtles, beavers, waterfowl, etc. who
all don't recognize watershed boundaries but travel where and when they
please.  It's too easy to get panicked about introductions and disease.
The point is, it happens regardless of man's participation.  Yes, we can
and should slow it down and curb our own tendencies.  Exotics verses
introduced natives is a difficult discussion.  I hope I haven't offended
anyone.  In the same light, I tend to get a little punchy when someone
from another part of the country starts telling me what I need to do in my
own backyard, when I know darn well that person may not have all the
information I have on the subject.

 It doesn't happen very often.
> I hope you take these comments in the general light they are meant.



> Thanks too for keeping the discussion going, I think your comments were very
> timely and appropriate.
> Tootles
> Peter J Unmack 			peter.unmack at asu_edu
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> DESERT FISHES RULE: To boldly thrive where no other fish can make it!
> Australian desert fishes pages at http://ozdesertfish.base.org (don't 
> forget to visit the Desert Fishes Council pages too)
> Native Fish Australia pages at http://www.nativefish.asn.au
> North American Native Fishes Association at http://www.nanfa.org 
> Aquatic Conservation Network at http://www.acn.ca

Follow-Ups: References: