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Re: Re: NFC: Me on Detractors and stuff
I was afraid the original content of this subject line had been lost in a
tangent. Happily, that is not the case and IMHO this is an important topic. I
believe the concerns voiced are astute and we are well advised to address
these issues now.
First of all, I am not sanctioned because I give a percentage of the meager
profits from personal fish sales to the NFC, but instead, for my responsible
practices and active role as conservationist. It represents NFC's confidence
that I act as a responsible representative in accordance with our guidelines
and within the laws of state and federal governing bodies. The same sanctions
will be accorded the members in the Breeders Program as the NFC backs, with
confidence, active conservation efforts by members documenting behaviours of
the subjects in the program. Sales from these programs are a side benefit to
thier actual purpose and well within responsible stewardship and the need to
Here is a description of my own collecting practices and long term goals in
my activivist role as conservationist in the NFC. In South Florida, the
smaller non-game fish are extremely abundent in a many of the spots I fish.
They seem to be less affected by the exotics they share habitat with, by
observation, it seems the gamefish of similar size to the exotics are the ones
that suffer most. I catch about 75% natives to exotics and release the natives
unless I have a need. Depending on the fishing site, I net an average of 150
fish in 2 hours using a dipnet almost exclusively, pulling the net up under
the marginal vegitation that grows 1 to 2 feet out into the water from the
embankment. In other areas I will walk up to my waist through canals dragging
my net around sunken logs or through aquatic vegitation as I go. For this I
pull along a bait bag, which has a drawstring at the top attached to my belt
loop, and drop the catch into it as I go. The only other device I use is a DIY
trap made of two plastic soda bottles. This I use in only one spot where, due
to the extreme population of exotics, I am able to remove over a hundred fish
within a ten minute period; no exaggeration! The exotics are never returned
with Peacock Bass being the only exception.
When I am after a native species, I collect them from several locations and
only a limited number of any one species from each spot. Most of the natives I
have collected, in fact, have been for the society auctions as a part of our
public awareness effort. They recieve the most attention at the auctions and
idealy we would do well to have onsite representation to promote NFC's agenda
in conservation and awareness. But that's another discussion altogether.
My own private sales consist mainly of exotics with only a few requests for
natives. I am careful not to trash habitats as I fish and will replace to it's
original posture vegitation I've moved around in the proccess . I also carry a
plastic garbage bag for the refuse I inevitably come across.
After Damnbusia, Least Killies and female Sailfin Mollies, F.
chrysotus are the most abundant native non-game fish here. Then comes
Rainwater and Bluefins Killies in about the same proportions. Then Bluespotted
sunnies, followed by Tadpole madtoms. The Flagfish, Elassoma, and F.
confluentus all come, together at the same time, from spots seperate from the
above mentioned sites. All three will be part of my efforts in breeding,
mainly because they are more difficult to get to, although they are in
abundance where they are found. I will also be breeding melanistic F.
chrysotus and will send breeding pairs of the F1s to the breeders program. I
fish to order and the fish are held and shipped within a week to cut down the
stressful time between capture and arrival in their new homes.
In the coming year,with the ERP continuing to grow, I will be gathering
support and volunteers through the local schools and colleges, as well as,
lobby the large pet stores and LFSs to post the "no return" policies we
I offer this as a brief description of what in my own case I believe to be
sound and responsible conservation minded collecting procedure. I do not
overfish or undermine habitat in my collecting and removal adventures.
I would like to hear what others opinions concerning responsible collecting
procedures are, so we can pool these together as a collective, democratic
interpretation of guidelines to be used by those newer people in the NFC, or
anyone in earshot, for thier own collecting practices. I also mean these to be
"guidelines" for responsible collecting for people to use at thier own
discretion, not laws or mandates. Give people the information they need to be
responsible and let them be guided by thier own concience. I'll take education
over legislation any day. In agreement that with the increased awareness we
generate will come increased recreational collecting and we should be
So what say you folks,