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NFC: Re: NANFA-- Too much awareness?

Yes, yes, yes!  Excellent points!  Awareness is more than, "Hey, there are
some really cool fish in North America.  Let's go catch them and sell or
trade them to everyone we know!"  Awareness has to include, "Hey, this
species is really rare and can only be found in this one riffle in this one
creek that sits downstream from a chemical plant.  I may know where that
riffle is, but I'm not going to tell my friend who would go and take all he
can find."  We have to let people know, not just that North American fishes
are really worthwhile, but also that many are in danger.  Part of it has to
be educating everyone about protected listings, habitat maintenance, and
responsible collecting.  If we're nothing but a bunch of fish collectors,
why should anyone care to work with us on any aspect of this.  The only
reason sport fishers get any resources is because they pay license fees and
buy fishing charters and equipment.  If we're viewed as nothing but
consumers of the resource, we will likely get nothing but resistance.  Our
economic input is way too small to get any positive attention.  Those who
have an interest in protecting the resource will see us as a threat if
we're seen as nothing but collectors.

On the other hand, if we can demonstrate that we are making a significant
contribution to educating people on the need to preserve the non-game fish
resource, we might get some support and assistance with the things we want
to accomplish.  This can happen on the most basic, personal level.  Each of
us has to act in the most responsible and well-informed manner whenever we
interact with native fish and their habitats.  That means knowing what fish
are protected in the area you are visiting; learning to ID the fish that
can be found there; not taking more fish than you really can maintain or
make positive use of; and teaching these things to our friends.  So get out
those field guides and learn those fish!

That's my sermon for today.  :)

Mark Binkley
Columbus Ohio USA          <))><
mbinkley at earthling_net