NANFA-- position on educational collecting (was Carillio in the news)

Jay DeLong (
Tue, 28 Aug 2001 11:05:51 -0700

> Do you think that perhaps to clear up the misconceptions about
> collecting, that NANFA as a group should formulate some type of
> letter about the positive impact it can actually have,

Yes. And call it "educational" collecting. Or do away with the
"collecting" part alltogether if you can think of a better term. That's a
stupid term, don't you think? And it has a negative connotation because of
the illegal activities that have gone on under that same name. And avoid
saying that anyone has a "right" to collect or that it's an individual
freedom or something selfish like that.

> and just outline the idea that
> this is something that is not affecting natives as opposed to other
> affects???

I'd deal with the positive effects of legal educational collecting and avoid
discussion on comparing its impact to habitat destruction. Why even allow
for guilt by association? Instead, deal with how developing an
understanding and appreciation of living organisms and their ecosystems
could lead to inventing better methods of land development and resource use.

> I mean even if all collecting would stop, these fishes still
> have the major threats to their habitats, like the poorly planned
> developement that was mentioned. no habitat means no fish

There is so little collecting going on anywhere anyway. NA natives will
never catch on as aquarium fishes, except for killifishes and livebearers
(some of which HAVE suffered from over-collecting). Biologists and
administrators and others who name collecting as a universal threat are
coming from their own biases or ignorance. A carefully worded position from
NANFA may be of some help.

> maybe we should have collected some to avoid the extinctions
> caused from such activities...

I wouldn't go this route. That leads to the wacky perception that the fish
species are the problem and if they're removed-- no problem! I would
instead include a recognition of the importance of conserving natural
ecosystems instead of using a single-species approach-- how fish species are
merely a part of complex and poorly understood natural ecosystems, and how
gaining a better appreciation of them could lead to a better appreciation
and understanding of the environment in which they've evolved.

Jay DeLong
Olympia, WA
"If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do
not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts?
To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent
~ Aldo Leopold (1953)

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