Re: NANFA-L-- Speckled Dace - Where Oh Where

Jerry Baker (
Sat, 18 Feb 2006 13:18:34 -0800

Peter Unmack wrote:
> On Wed, 15 Feb 2006, Jerry Baker wrote:
>> I want to gain some experience keeping a non-threatened subspecies
>> before trying to convince local authorities to let me keep some Santa
>> Ana Speckled Dace. It's really looking like all pathways to legally
>> acquiring native fish are closed off in most of the Western United States.
> Your best bet is to talk to the local Cal fish and game folks (or whoever
> is actually involved in the Santa Ana stuff) and see about getting a
> permit to allow you to keep some for research purposes. That way you
> don't need to worry about any legal issues. The best way to work with
> these folks is to build up a relationship of trust. Get out and volunteer
> and work with them in the field. Have them come over to check out your
> setup etc etc. I doubt that they would grant a permit to a hobbyist
> without them first knowing the person pretty well.

It's much worse than that here in California. I just got back from
touring a pretty sophisticated operation to house some speckled dace,
Santa Ana suckers, and Arroyo Chub (
It took them 18 months to get a permit and they're still not allowed to
*allow* the fish to reproduce. They have to remove them-in-the beginning
of spawning season and dump them into the river. The guy was happy to
explain-in-length how reluctant anyone was to issue a permit even to
keep them, and they are a governmental agency with a few-hundred
thousand gallon system with backup generators and such. It seems that
the California officials are so paralyzed by the lack of information
about these species that they are unwilling to give anyone permits to
study them for fear of harming them. Kind of retarded.

It really is beginning to seem like a determined individual can only
take guerrilla action, or watch a species disappear due to inaction. I
have no plans to do any such thing yet or in the near future, since it
hasn't become that desperate yet. I have signed up to volunteer with
them during the Spring fish collection (but private individuals aren't
even allowed to physically participate in capturing the fish - I hate
California), and to provide any help I can around the facility.
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