NANFA-- collecting ethics

Stan Perkins (
Sat, 17 Jan 2004 22:21:34 -0600

Perhaps it it the term hobbist that is causing all this confusion! (I'm

sorry my brain has been partially short circuited by semester finals and

grading all those exams and fighting over late computer reports and

encountering new students.) My definition of hobbist does not include

Bobby, his gold fish and pirate ship, Fernando and his giant oscar, or Kang

and his fighting fish. Hobbist, to most of us, means an individual who has a

fascination with fish. He has spent a (varing) number of years studing them.

He maintains a large number of tanks, pools, ponds, buckets, jars, or any

other conceivable container with species he has breed and raised. He knows a

great bit about the day to day activities of his charges. He observes,

monitors, and enjoys fish. He is usually a stout conservationist. A member

of two to three aquarium or speciality societies. He may not have degree but

when has that stopped anyone from securing knowledge and experience about a

subject! Communication is another factor that seperates the hobbist from the

professional. Many professionals are afraid someone is going to jump the gun

on their research and so a very wary about exchanging ideas with anyone. But

any time - day or night - I can get on this computer and send an email to

one of the species groups and get an answer back to my problem within

twentyfour hours or less. This answer may come from the States or any where

in the world!

I stand up for the hobbist because I stand with a foot in both worlds. I

would suggest that if you really examined any of the advances in keeping and

breeding fish, reef maintanence, aquarium product design, filtration, and

many other aspects of aquarium care. The list of names associated with these

advances will contain more hobbist than professionals. As a keeper, you

should know that most zoo professionals are not degreed professionals but

rather started as young hobbists. Today more and more are getting the

degrees first but the hobby was the introduction to that career. Many of

these folks have a list of older hobbists who mentored their interests.

To sum it up - I would find the best man for the job! Be it professional or

hobbist, it matters not! Experience with a species is more important than

whether you work for a zoo, Harvard, or Wallmart.

Stan Perkins
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