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NFC: Breeders club article....
The Need to Breed !
Robertrice at juno_com
North America boasts over 10% of the fish species in the world. They are
beautiful, interesting , and for the most part ignored. Outside of the
common sportfish there are few life histories and fewer breeding
histories. This creates a real problem for fisheries departments as they
struggle to develop conservation plans that keep the little fish in mind.
For the most part the pros just do not have the resources to study every
species of fish. That's a problem. The Native Fish Conservancy (NFC) has
developed a solution.
The NFC a federal non profit conservation organization realized early on
that Aquarist had unique skills that could be a real asset to the
conservation movement. The problem is Aquarist are not joiners. Their
hobby goes from the passive to the obsessive. While other hobbyist groups
like the herpers and birders have long since gotten involved in or
started their own conservation programs for the most part Aquarist have
stayed on the sidelines. They are not likely to spend the 10$ or so to
join any conservation organization. However there is a core group of
Aquarist that are incredibly conservation oriented. They are meticulous
about species origin, keeping strains pure and following the federal and
state laws. These are the folks that should be a core of conservation
activities. After a lot of discussion the NFC decided to take up a
challenge to those Aquarist. That challenge is a program , the NFC
The Breeders clubs mandate is a simple one. To develop life histories of
every species in North America and Central America, make their data
public via their website at http://nativefish.interspeed.net , obey
every applicable state and federal law and be financially self
sustaining. No small order but we realized early on that money drives
conservation efforts. To have a program that was not self sustaining was
just not something anyone would start. Who among us could contribute the
tens of thousands of dollars necessary annually to run this program ? The
Answer , surprisingly enough is you the hobbyist. You see the demand for
temperate fishes in the ornamental trade far out strips the supply. So If
we could somehow blend ornamental sales into the mix we could pay for our
program , provide much needed life histories and have a little extra
left over to help pay for worthwhile conservation projects like classroom
aquariums, local nature displays and endangered species propagation.
So then the NFC began to chop down the redtape. We acquired fish dealers
licenses to go along with our 501 C federal status . These licenses
allowed us to sell fish . Thus be self supporting. We then set about the
task of getting scientific collectors permits (SCP'S) from a variety of
states. We stated clearly that species collected would be bred and their
information made public via our website. The young if a successful spawn
occurred would not be returned to the wild unless instructed by a state
or federal agency. We met with surprisingly little resistance. We quickly
got SCP's from Arkansas for the Blue Headed Shiner(P. Hubbsi) . Soon
other states followed. In no time we had almost a dozen organizational
Scientific Collecting Permits. These allowed our members to collect
literally dozens of unique local strains of fish for breeding purposes.
We donated all these unique fish to the breeders program.
The challenge remained could we get conservation minded Aquarist to join
the team ? Could we interest an individual who would keep a local strain
pure ? An individual would be willing to tie up tank space and feed in an
effort to develop life histories. An individual who would follow the NFC
mandate. An individual who would be willing to donate their hard earned
breeding results and 50% of their fry. An individual willing to follow
all the state and federal regulations. The Answer was a resounding yes.
In just a few months a bevy of qualified Aquarists volunteered . Headed
by Bill Duzen (theduuz at aol_com ) we developed a team.
The team began to take the dozens of unique strains and breed them. They
began to produce real life histories . The fry are either given to public
aquariums , sold to overseas wholesalers or handed on to new breeders
club members. Because of the commercial aspect of the club it is a
benefit to continually breed suitable ornamental species. The breed em
one time and forget em rules of a typical aquarium breeders club are
thrown out. This commercialism allows the Breeders club to produce a
steady income then to spend their other efforts on non commercial
species that are equally important but commercially unviable .Like Ray
Katula's work with the Crystal darter. The species is unknown, unbred and
unloved. Rays work will shed light on their mysterious life history and
help this nearly endangered species to carry on.
The NFC breeders club is a winner for a lot of reasons. They produce real
life histories, they are self substaining , they support local aquariums
and youth projects and they follow all the regulations out there. Imagine
a day when life histories , and breeding populations are maintained for
every pupfish, killie, livebearer , shiner and oddball in the Northern
hemisphere. A day when every school child knows the fish in the pond down
To reach the NFC Breeders Program : email theduuz at aol_com
Check out their Website at http://nativefish.interspeed.net
Or Join them and receive their bi monthly newsletter with a 10$ donation
1663 Iowa Ave east
St. Paul MN.
Help Preserve our Aquatic Heritage join the NFC
email us at NFC at actwin_com