Here's what I want. Sensible laws. I know....that's asking for a lot. I
want to see laws that promote the easy keeping of native fishes and or
fishes that cannot become invasive and make it difficult to keep fish that
can become invasive. Additionally I would like to see laws that ensure that
fish are treated humanely. If you want a Pacu, get a permit, prove you have
a 1000 gallon tank and you can care for the fish. I guess the same laws
could be applied to other pets and I would love to see it. I'm sick of
idiots causing problems for responsible pet owners and the environment. Pet
ownership is a privilege and not a right.
OK, guess I have to jump on my soapbox (and probably make some folks
mad....but I hope not!). First, don't get me wrong....I think we should
encourage keeping native species. It's a great hobby and I think it fosters
the furthering of our knowledge of native fishes. But, I'm afraid I would
support the keeping of native species as a replacement for keeping
tropicals....at least not for the reasons you guys have mentioned. I
(somewhat regrettably!) worked in the retail aquarium trade for a number of
years. There are FAR too many keepers of fish (and I can't really call them
"Hobbyists"...you guys are hobbyists!) out there that simply dump their
when they get tired of them in any waterway they see fit. I can't tell you
how many Pacus have been pulled out of the Tennessee River near where I
But....these pacus pose essentially no threat to the native fauna in our
area...or any temperate area within the US for that matter. The vast
of tropicals will never survive in most North American waterways, if for no
other reason, wintertime water temps. I do realize that tropicals are a
threat in many far southern waterways (mostly in Florida and some
southwestern states) and in some warm springs. Unfortunately, I don't see
this improving any time soon. I wish it weren't the case!
Now, can you imagine those same people tossing out their
natives....especially knowing they're native ("what's it gonna matter").
Then you have fish being put into situations where they very well may
survive. If they're being kept by "Joe Average" they're probably hardy
species. If they take off in some new, native system, they may well
out-compete some rare endemic. There could easily be cases where genetic
swamping could occur between fishes that would never encounter one another
I hate to see tropicals causing troubles around the country and the world,
for that matter. I think it's irresponsible to import many of these fish
outgrow home aquaria in most cases, resulting in disposal problems. But we
really don't need these kinds of problemswith transplanted natives in parts
of the country where diversity and endemism are high. We have enough
to deal with.
So, I know I sound negative here. I really don't mean to. This is a great
group of people, many of which I know personally. I just don't want to see
slide down the wrong slope in what we recommend.
Thanks for hearing me out!
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