Re: NANFA-- why not N.A. fish/ was-- wintering fish

Christopher Scharpf (
Fri, 02 Jan 2004 15:35:13 -0400

> By making it illegal to collect, keep or breed certain fish without complex
> licensing.

I don't think the few examples you cite are part of some bureaucratic cabal
to "squeeze out" the poor fishkeeper. In most cases I've examined, they're
just antiquated laws written for/by anglers and fisheries managers. For
example, it's illegal to collect darters in Illinois. Not because
bureaucrats wanted to prevent you from keeping darters, but because no one
considered darters when they used the word "percid" when referring
collectively to yellow perch, walleye and sauger. Unfortunately, the native
fishkeeping hobby is too small to warrant the effort of rewriting the law.
And with so many darters on the state protected list, why should they?

> Try to collect in California or several other western states.

True, western native fish enthusiasts have it tough. But you gotta realize
it's a different can of worms out there with political issues we don't have
to deal with in the east. In the west, water "conservation" means making
sure it isn't "wasted" by reaching the sea! In California, many stream
fishes are imperiled because there is no water -- specifically, no water in
the headwater sections where most cyprinids and suckers spawn. So managers
don't want collectors stomping around in the few streams that have water for
fear of harming what may represent the last few remaining self-sustaining
populations. (This is an over-simplification, but it does help explain the

And, as far as I know, not one aquarist has complained about not being able
to seine the Colorado River for a pikeminnow or a bonytail! :-)

Chris Scharpf
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