RE: NANFA-- re: Why it's tougher out west...

Dave Neely (
Mon, 20 Sep 1999 11:41:18 CDT


you got the appropriate intention of my post. I concur.

>... I spoke to the person at WDFW who handles permits... I compared >what I
>wanted to do to what a bird watcher enjoys doing. He told me >that the
>difference was that fish watching requires disturbing and >removing the
>fish from the water, and is prohibited. I wasn't even >asking about rare
>fish. He was completely black-and-white about it.

I completely understand. My WA permit was so full of restrictions, I could
barely take anything. Then they wanted me to collect a bunch of sequence
data on any fish I got (which costs an arm and a leg) and give it to them.
Free. Oh, and by a certain unrealistic date.

This is where NANFA might serve a very beneficial function. As has been
discussed extensively, collecting permits in many states are extremely
overregulated. As long as non-endangered taxa aren't being taken, there
should be no difference between take of a couple trout for dinner and a few
Mylocheilus for my tank. None.

The people who make these decisions see very few permit applications come
across their desk. If we, as a society of informed, responsible native fish
enthusiasts, could demonstrate to the heads of Fish and Game departments
that "responsible" collectors have as much right to the natural resources of
their state as anglers or other sportsmen, and we would be willing to at
LEAST buy a fishing license, that our activities should be allowed. Nothing
groundbreaking here.

Are they worried that we won't be able to tell the difference between game
and non-game spp? Between endangered and non-endangered taxa? Most of the
conservation officers I've ever met (it's been quite a few) could hardly
tell me what I had in my bucket. We've got to be self-regulating, and get
this point across to those in charge. If that doesn't placate them, what
about closing areas with endangered taxa to non-game collecting for
aquaria. No big deal, the regs for trout stream closures are typically so
convoluted that this should be a piece of cake.

My next point might be a bit more to the point. As governmental employees,
the people who work at F&G offices have a responsibility to US. Fishing
license sales don't pay ALL of their salary. It's amazing how a well placed
letter or phone call to your Governor can work. Just about every state has a
few conservative Representatives- these are the folks who need to hear that
their constituency can't take a couple non-endangered minnows, even WITH a
fishing license. If we explain our cause, they'll be all over it. I resorted
to this once with a state F&G office that I'd been waiting on a permit for
months from... I had a permit faxed to me that afternoon. While I typically
don't like using politicians for bullying purposes, let's be realistic-
that's how things happen in this wonderful country of ours.

An official letter from NANFA explaining our stance on the responsible
collecting and maintenance of native fishes, sent to the head of each
state's F&G dept, might be the place to start. Is this out of line?
Sitting around complaining about not being able to collect isn't getting
anything done.


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