Re: NANFA-- Collecting ethics

Steffen Hellner (
Mon, 12 Jan 2004 17:04:52 +0100

>> <)> Still waiting for evidence that collecting of fish
>> <)> or any other cold-blooded
>> <)> animal has ever lead to extinction.
> This is where I think that the views on this topic are nearsighted. It is
> not that it may lead to extiction, it is that it is not helping to preserve
> the species by still allowing for unrestricted collection or possession.
Didn4t speak of unrestricted collecting or possession. But today the
alternatives are either "do what you want" or "its prohibited". That is were
differentiation lacks.

> You are reducing genetic diversity and therefore *possibly* weakening the
> species as a whole.
This is an argument as weak as all the stated thread by collecting. If
nature and especially amphibians and fish were that sensitive to losses of
"genetic diversity" by loss of single or few specimen there would have been
no species development at all as we face it. Amphibians and fish are known
to be very stable against inbreeding even when bred in genetic lines. Mostly
every species can be inbred for many, many generations without affecting its
health or prolificy. Even mammals als the white Ory antilope were based on
just a dozen specimen left and have raised to herds of hundreds without
significant problems. Or see the Bison. It must have been extirpated if
genetic diversity was that narrow as you state it. With amphibians like
hellbenders it is obviously even less problematic.

> There is much that humans don't know about population
> dynamics and that is why I vote for erring on the side of caution and not
> allowing just anyone who thinks they know what they are doing to keep the
> species. Unfortunately, it is reactive and not proactive, but that is a
> whole other thread ;).
I agree, we are just at start of knowing what is really going on. My point
is that the cautionous survive but the risky people take us further. We can
look at the species we have with tears in our eyes and see them die off and
be aware we "were on the side of caution" or try to get into it by taking
the "risk" of using a limited number for research. And the latter is being
done now with hellbenders. And I am aware that our past behaviour has caused
this reaction as we missed to be proactive for too long. Still time to
change this. Mere conservatism will not work in the long run.

As you proposed I suggest we close this thread as everything for now has
been said. It was great, I like controvers discussions. Hope I didn4t upset
anybody by my statements which just reflected my personal oppinion.

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