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Your article, "From Both Sides Now, The Role of The aquarist in
Conservation," brings up some good issues. Especially those concerning
the lack of cooperation between groups with overlapping interests.
I don't understand why scientists have a tendency to overlook the
accomplishments of aquarists. Perhaps it may be a shot to the egos of
some that somebody without a masters degree or doctorate in biology can
discover or achieve what they cannot. Whatever the reason, it's quite
ridiculous for there to be a barrier between the two groups at all.
Maybe it's time somebody put together a comprehensive essay, the result
of a bit of research, that highlights the vast amount of discoveries and
achievements by dedicated aquarists. Included would be the benefits such
activities have contributed not only to the aquarium hobby, but to
science, conservation, the economy, etc. Should such a study yield
positive information and become published, who knows, maybe it could
bring us one step closer to better cooperation.
As you mentioned in your article, there is a ton of piscine literature
out there. I wonder how easy it is for society to overlook the fact that
much of this "fish lit" comes from devoted hobbyists, and not from some
Oxford grad in a white lab coat. It's definitely something I never
considered before today. It can be difficult to visualize the overall
contributions of the little people without the existence of reliable
I would find it hard to believe that are not already many professionals
that DO interact with and respect the work done by hobbyists. These are
the people that have a greater opportunity to convince their peers and
associated organizations of the viability of aquarists' involvement with
native conservation. It might work wonders for the cause to persuade
these people to make an effort to do so.
Being relatively new to the native fish scene (beyond angling), I'm not
exactly sure what measures have been taken in the past to improve
conservation. What I have seen lately are some feelings of hopelessness
apparently brought by years conservation attempts being continually
defeated. Perhaps it's time to sit back, review what has and is
currently being done, and then revise these efforts in hope of improving
them. I am under no impression that such improvements can be brought
about overnight, but the longer it takes to accomplish successful
conservation actions, the sooner we should begin them.