NANFA-- Catching up

Mysteryman (
Thu, 09 Oct 2003 14:58:00 -0700

Well, I'm home again.
After sifting through several hundred postings, I see that the subject
of the Bluenose shiner was a hot topic lately.
As for some european poacher plundering the creeks for hundreds of
specimens and sending them to europe.... I don't think I believe it.
There are only a few spots where they can be found in any real number,
and those spots aren't going to produce THAT many in any short length of
time. I suppose it's possible that a whole lot of fry were collected,
since the fry would have been a lot more numerous than the adults, but
isn't that the way it always is? Odd as it may sound, collecting large
numbers of fry doesn't really have much impact on the population as a
whole. Lots of studies have been conducted on that very subject, and
they reach the same conclusion.
Those of you who keep saltwater fish know that many otherwise highly
desirable species are nearly impossible to keep due to very highly
specilized feeding requirements. There is a new company in France called
Aquafish ( I'm sure something was probably lost in the translation )
which collects larval specimens and raises them through the critical
dietary selection phase without access to the critical food. This forces
them to not specialize, and the result is previously impossible to keep
species which now thrive on standard aquarium fish foods. As you might
suspect, this company had to go through a LOT of hoops to be able to do
what it does, and a lot of independent studies had to first show that
there would be no significant impact on the populations of those
species. ( This IS France, after all. )
However, I digress... I don't think either type of collection ever even
happened anyway, and even if it did, I doubt that it's really such a bad
thing. Maybe someone will have some success at spawning them. The
germans have always been decades ahead of the americans in the area of
aquaristics, so if anyone can find a good way to spawn them, they will.
Tank-raised fry may also prove more willing to spawn in captivity.
All in all, I think everyone is panicking over nothing.
Martin and BG are the only guys who could really probably pull off
something like that anyway, and they're not going to. Even those
icthyologists who collected 800 of them took over four years to do it,
and that little honey-hole is still a top producer of welakas. In fact,
while I now know nine places to find them, that spot is still the best.
The second best place is a the yellow river near Milton, Florida, where
they are protected. ( blacknose and other shiners are also protected
there ) The third best is in Alabama, in a very large pond ( I wonder if
pond-paised fish would be more apt to spawn than river fish in a tank ).
The next best place is down around Bogalusa, LA, and the next two are in
florida where they are protected, and the last few are in remote areas
of east central Alabama in the middle of nowhere.
The distribution of this fish is actually quite good, and it's almost
certain that they are a lot more plentiful than we seem to think they
are The catch, of course, is that they are so darned hard to REACH in
most of their habitat. The nine spots I mentioned are only those nine
where they are EASILY reached. Sampling over the last several decades
has produced them in many more places in between which are not at all
easy to reach, and there are a whole lot of rather large areas that have
never been sampled, due to the difficulty involved, which are prime real
estate for this fish. Compare a topographical map with the known
distribution distribution of the welaka, and it's obvious that there are
welakas aplenty still undiscovered. These wilderness areas are nearly
inaccessible by humans, so the large populations of welakas virtually
certain to be there are going to be safe for a very long time. In short,
I think a lot of you are worried over nothing. All this talk about
moratoriums and getting the government involved is unwarranted. Getting
the government involved is almost ALWAYS unwarranted. The Government
tends to go overboard, you know. Some pencil-pushing prick trying to
save the welaka from us evil aquarists may very likely decide to save
all the other fish as well, and we're all screwed. Vermillion Darter?
Sure, call Uncle Sam. THAT'S a fish that needs help.
Bluenosed shiner? Don't bother, they're fine. Besides, how are we going
to learn their secrets if we don't have access to them? I don't have any
yet, but I'd sure like some once I am again capable of giving them the
attention they deserve. That's right; while I could have captured untold
dozens of them by now, I haven't bothered. I'm a very serious and fairly
responsible aquarist, and when I do finally try welakas, it'll be when
I'm pretty sure I'll be successful.

Okay, next topic...
That 30 foot fish wasn't in an article by itself. It's just a few lines
buried in another story about things found while restoring an old house.
It's in the August TFH.

The place in Arkansas where I saw all the Blueheads was.. a good
question. It was off US 71 somewhere between Texarkana and Shreveport.
There was a river, and near the river there was a small stream, and the
stream is where the Blueheads were seen. The water was dark, but clear,
that is, not muddy, and the the iridescent blue of their heads reflected
the noonday sun so nicely that I could see them from the road.

My Flagfins are all half-grown already. Of course the weekend looms
ahead, and I'll have to get back to work afterward, but in a few more
weeks I should be able to send some to whomever wants some.

Well, I guess that's about it.
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