RE: NANFA-L-- Re: Chinese Sturgeon on AquaBid

matt ashton (
Wed, 10 May 2006 16:45:12 -0700 (PDT)

Okay I think I am just going to summarize...

Yes - captive propagation programs are successful-in-producing good numbers of Barrens topminnows (BTM) to augment and reintroduce.

Yes - they are 'maintaining' several (four to be exact I think) genetic lines.

Yes - the mosquito fish is a main cause for the lack of success in reintroductions and the decline in wild populations. Mortality of smaller BTMs is HIGH, and the numbers that make it to being able to breed is low.

The flip side...

There is mounting evidence that even when attempts to maintain genetic diversity are in place drift and unwanted variation occurs. Case in point for native fish, the Devils Hole pupfish, the bonytail chub, and even in the BTM.

There is also mounting evidence against releasing captively bred fish because of behavioral changes. Fish brought into captivity often show a change in behavior within a short period of time that can make them unacceptable to wild release. Stock raised in a tank is no different, and learned behaviour and traits that could cause problems in the wild stock.

You can breed all the BTM you want and throw them in the water, the fact is, until the mosquito fish problems is solved, pardon my french here, but you are pissing in the ocean. With so few genetic lines available, LARGE numbers of fish would further complicate the genetic issues.

The major push is (and needs to be) to develop hydrological barriers, removal of mosquito fish, and mosquito fish control.

A conservation dependent ark population with little to no habitat remaining stands little to no chance in existing in the wild and/or being a succesful attempt in conservation biology. It is not the solution, often only one part of the overal conservation effor and many times just a bandaid, and should be used with caution.

I think accountability is another of the issues-in-the center of this and why I can see why distributing N.A. fish to citizens is not likely. Tax payer dollars are-in-use by state and federal agencies. When programs are viewed not to be successful, the pressure is put on, the plug is pulled. It is much harder to keep tabs on citizens than it is to keep tabs on national fish hatcheries.

Cookeville, TN

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