Re: NANFA-L-- Re: the aquarium hobby as conservator of

Jerry Baker (
Thu, 11 May 2006 07:57:53 -0700

Michael Lucas wrote:
> Dave,
> You don't sound negative to me, just realistic. I think sometimes we like
> to think we can do more then we really can or use the "raising for
> conservation" rationalization to keep something we just plain want to have.
> There certainly are plenty of neat fish out there, that are in no danger, to
> collect and enjoy. For the others our energy might be better used to support
> the institutions truely qualified to do some good and to help protect the
> natural environments.

1) There aren't plenty of fish anywhere if you live in Southern
California. Nearly every native fish is listed by the state as a
"species of special concern," but none are Federally listed as
endangered as far as I know.

2) Of course we want to have these fish. Some of us are interested in
these fish and find them to be attractive fish. Of course we want them.
If we didn't want them, why would we be interested in having them? In my
area of California very little is known about these fish, and most of
what is known is anecdotal. Of course I would like to figure out what is
necessary to breed them in captivity, what food causes them to grow the
best, what water temperatures they seem most comfortable in, etc. Doing
this sort of thing requires specimens in captivity under controlled
conditions and where they can be readily observed on a regular basis.

I am not under any delusion that I am going to serve a some sort of
breeding program for some of these threatened fish, but I do believe I
can learn some things about them that are not currently known. I believe
that seizing a small sample from the wild and breeding them for use by
other aquarists/scientists *would* serve a useful purpose and be
ultimately beneficial to the fish through increased knowledge. If
nothing else, when it came to the point where the appropriate agencies
do have to keep them in tanks and breed them perhaps having the data
necessary already would be better than trial and error when there are
only a few dozen left.

Not only that, but if the wild population does get extirpated, captive
stock is better than losing the genetics altogether.
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