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.
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