Re: NANFA-L-- A word from the NANFA past

Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- A word from the NANFA past
From: Peter Unmack (peter.lists at)
Date: Wed Sep 01 2004 - 10:56:46 CDT

On Tue, 31 Aug 2004 Noturus2 at wrote:

I think Andy raises some interesting issues. My comments in this response
are not directed at him personally, but should be taken in a broader
general perspective.

> I've been a member since 1982. The publication was not so slick as it is
> now but it was written by members who kept and bred native fish and were
> proud of it. I submitted articles and was very proud that they were
> printed.

I'm sorry that you feel the way that you do Andy, I know you have a long
association with NANFA, and a very strong interest in fish that goes well
beyond just fish keeping, and I have a lot of respect for people like

While your criticism may be valid and shared by others, what is an editor
to do when people don't send him many fish keeping type articles? If
members don't send in articles then Chris has to actively hunt for
articles. The people who write the most are academics, and in many cases
they are able to write a popular account of their research or about other
interesting stuff that could not be published elsewhere. They are also
much easier to find and locate based on the published literature. And I
have to respectfully disagree regarding Copeia, nothing published in AC
would ever make it into Copeia nor any other scientific journal as it
isn't scientific. It is natural history, an important subject that has
largely disappeared from academia and appears to be ever decreasing in
terms of suitable forums for its publication. If people feel overwhelmed
with writing an article I'm sure Chris and his editorial team would be
perfectly happy to help someone write their article. Not everyone has
great writing skills, but many NANFA people have awesome fishkeeping
skills that will never be shared unless those folks write it down. I've
always said that they greatest contribution any fishkeeper can make back
to the fishes is to document and share their experiences with keeping
and/or breeding certain species. If the fishkeepers don't do it then no
one will as academics sure can't keep fish alive!

I also don't think that some of you realise just how much time Chris'
family puts in and gives to NANFA. I also don't think that some of you
realise just how much time Chris' family puts in and gives to NANFA
(incase you missed it the first time). I think it is also important to
recognise when was the last time an AC was significantly late? That's
largely because of Chris' dedication and very long hours working at the
computer late into the night after many of you have already gone to bed.
Also, how often can you find mistakes or typos? Pretty rarely due to the
editorial team he has helping him. He takes AC and NANFA very seriously
(way more seriously than I ever could), and gets very little thanks for
his efforts. Instead, he mostly hears criticism of NANFA (often from
people who aren't even members). If I were him I would have told you all
to go and # at $%$#%$# at ^#$ at ^$# at at ^. But luckily for us, he is not like me,
and he soldiers on nonetheless. None of us like to be criticised, and few
of us respond positively to it either. If someone doesn't like the way
NANFA is going then that is what the board of directors is for (and those
feelings should be aired on the bod email list, not here). Anyone who has
been a member for longer than one year can stand for the board. But
rarely do we ever get people showing much interest, and when positions
become vacant we (the board) usually have to try and recruit people
willing to stand and keep the club running. NANFA is not the same club it
used to be, with the internet and other changes there is no way it ever
could be the same. But in many respects we are a better club, maybe not
in all respects as you pointed out, but overall I feel we are better now.

If you are on the list then you must be interested in native fishes. If
you aren't a member of NANFA, and you aren't broke, then you should be.
Get off your butts and mail in a check for $20 (we are working on getting
paypal going too). That's slightly more than three double quarter pounder
meals at McDonalds. As Martin pointed out, NANFA is not perfect, and
can't be everything to everyone, but nothing ever is! Just because you
have one gripe with something about NANFA is a poor excuse for not being a
member. Look at politics, many people align themselves with one political
party, but rarely would they ever agree with everything their party does,
but they don't give up on their party either.

As for the campfire suggestion from Martin, this would be wonderful, but I
have to fully agree with everything Mike Lucas said in regards to this.
Undoubtably, many of the best times and conversations I've had have been
around a campfire, but those can only be had around in campfire, and
that's what makes them so special. And I do agree that we can't please
everyone, but I think there needs to be some reasonable middle ground that
meets the requirements of most people.

Sorry about the longwindedness of this post (if you made it this far).

Best fishes
Peter Unmack
Canadian River, Oklahoma
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: Fri Dec 31 2004 - 11:27:11 CST