Conservation vs Hobby

Whats happening in the wild, current issues and debates....oooh this one'll get hot!

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dave
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Conservation vs Hobby

Post by dave » Fri Apr 28, 2006 5:14 am

Well do the two go together?

Also the fanaticism about L46 is it good for the whole Hypancistrus Genus?

And finally are retailers playing their part?

Hopefully I'll start a civilised discussion by commenting on the above in reverse order, and there will be some overlap.

Well retailers in general have to make a living and without them there would be no hobby, and hobbyists have to take a lot of responsibility, if there isn't a demand for a fish well they won't stock it, and I guess up until recently it applied to fish commonly referred to as tank busters. To all intensive purposes these are pets, and nothing wrong with this if you can accomodate them.

Now with the Amazon basin disappearing at an alarming rate, and with it many species of fish, and I hope the days are gone where everybody keeps a pleco the prettier the better in their tank, and most don't keep the algae down.

Well PFK ran a campaign against fish artificially coloured fish, perhaps if members of this site could promote retailers who refuse to sell isolated fish of small L numbers, as they are breedable, and this site has made the knowledge available.

And finally on to the title of this post, and following on from a thread in which Barbie commented that Zoo's don't release captive bred animals.

Does this really matter as long as the species is kept in existence, also in the public domain, and by people seeing it in Zoo's, more people are likely to seek it out, and breed more of them.

And another suggestion I made about donating the odd fish or two, no shock here no takers. Well Chester Zoo have agreed to take some of my fish, not easy even to give them away, had to go before an acquisition meeting.

All comments welcome

Dave

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Post by trigger123 » Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:06 am

well its the same for the Red-Tail-Shark its extinct from the wild but is found in every LFS in the World, acctually its not cus the L46 isnt found in every LFS in the world :lol: , what is going to in the Amazon is it being overfished? cus that would be a shame if the amazon was lost because of are hobbys! :( :(

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Post by dave » Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:31 pm

I doubt if the hobby has that much effect on many fishes status in the wild unless their range is localised, loss of environment is the main cause.

Tom Halvorsen wrote a piece on his web site, which I tend to agree with.

There are many fish produced commercially, also there are many fish imported whose status in the wild is known, in fact collection of these could and in some cases does provide cash and or jobs for impoverished parts of the world.

Many LFS's don't help either by not accepting captive bred fish, or just offering pennies for them. They sell single fish which are breedable whose status in the wild is not known, I guess this is particularly relevant to L numbers as in many cases where they are collected is not known.

As for L46, I have no doubt it's status in the hobby is assured, it's cost, it's looks, it's now almost celebrity status and demand outstripping availability.

My difficulty with the hobbyist alone conserving this fish is continuity, accidents happen, we are mortal so what happens to our fish then, 20 generations down the line will it resemble the fish we have in our tanks now.

Posts on inbreeding suggest that this is some time off, so should we address this now or after the quality of fish has fallen?

Dave

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My feelings on this are

Post by Andyt. » Fri Apr 28, 2006 6:49 pm

Do conservation and the hobby go together?

My experience, working retail sales in LFS for about seven years and working for a wholesaler for a year is that the hobby creates conservationists.

What I mean by that is (and this is all anecdotal based on personal experience) people purchase aquariums and fish because they are pretty and decorative. This is true from the smallest Betta bowl to the largest We-built-the-house-with-a-special-foundation-to-support-the-weight-of-the-aquarium type aquariums.

Many of these same people become fascinated by the fish and other plants and animals in the aquarium. They learn more about those animals and plants and come to care about them. Some of these people become conservationists (in one form or another) as a result of what they learn.

I am not saying the majority or even a large percentage of people who keep fish become conservationists. Only a few. But those people are significant. The only reason this board exists is because of people like that.

Also the fanaticism about L46 is it good for the whole Hypancistrus Genus?

I don't understand this question. Do you mean the other species get neglected or overlooked?

And finally are retailers playing their part?

Some are, some are not. I would say that when it comes to freshwater fish and invertebrates, the answer is much less so than thier saltwater counterparts.

Here in the United States there is a lot of activity amongst retailers towards conservation on the marine side of the hobby. There are a couple of organizations that help dealers determine that the fish and corals they buy are collected in an environmentally responsible manner:

Marine Aquarium Council is probably the most well known.

In addition, many retailers proudly sell captive raised marine fish - and the customer pays a price premium for these fish, usually an additional 10% to 15%.

As I said, this is sadly not as common on the freshwater side of the hobby. One of the things that makes this site exciting to me is that the zebra pleco is a "sexy" fish in that it is as visually stunning as any saltwater fish. It is my hope that more awareness of the problems facing the zebra pleco will make conservation a more important issue to freshwater hobbyists and retailers.

Good thought provoking questions!
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Post by khblock » Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:38 pm

Well said AndyT.

It is also my experience that when people become involved in a hobby such as ours, and they are serious about it, they tend to educate themselves.

As to whether LFS are doing their part, I can only cite what I have observed. IMHO most of the fish sold in LFS here in the US are sold by large chain stores by individuals who don't know what they are selling or how to take care of it. I was really excited when the first LFS opened up in our community. That was until I watched a young teen trying to get a fish into a net with a plastic fork (no kidding). I've yet to find a LFS I would trust with a ZP or any rare fish in my community. I am sure there are responsible LFS, I just haven't found any. I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes. Like I said I can only cite what I've seen locally.

Andyt...I wish you were here or my husband and I were there. From what I've read of your threads, you sound like a responsible LFS retailer. We need more like you. I would not hesitate buying a fish or taking advice from someone like you.

Has the fanaticism about L46 is it good for the whole Hypancistrus Genus? If I understand the question, I would like to think yes. In educating ourselves we are learning and discovering more hypancistrus species. Personally, since finding the ZP I’ve found and have collected five different species. I want more and want to learn more. Other hobbyist looking for the all elusive ZP have also learned of other hypancistrus species and then in turn learned on how to care and breed those as well.

Yes, the Amazon basin is disappearing and with it beautiful creatures. One thing is clear there are no easy answers and it takes years to implement a successful system. And while we attempt to protect & breed our fish lets not forget the difference between preservation and conservation. Conservation is to use wisely. In participating in forums such as this I honestly believe we are attempting to do our part to conserve this "sexy" little fish and others. History has proven that conservation out performs preservation attempts. Perhaps the most successful example of conservation over preservation is the white-tailed deer here in the US. Deer were hunted almost to extension in the 1800s. It was the hunters themselves who realized that something needed to be done. Now deer are over populated in certain areas. Perhaps history is repeating itself and it’s the fish hobbyists who are realizing something needs to be done. And we are doing it. When the Amazon basin does disappear it will be up to us, the hobbyist to protect and keep these species going.

As I said there aren't easy answers and it takes years of the efforts of many. I believe conservation and the hobby do “go” together. It has to; there aren’t many other options available. I’ve yet to see a US public aquarium (Washington D.C., Seattle, New York, New Jersey, Tampa, Chattanooga, Dallas just to name a few) with a hypancistrus tank or just one fish. Most aquariums are primarily focused on marine tanks. We have fish enthusiast all over the world in our ranks sharing and requesting information. Identifying a problem is the first step, educating ourselves is the second step and now we are discussing possible solutions. I think we are off to a good start. Well, I hope we are.

Good topic.
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Post by dave » Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:05 pm

The point is taken and I agree that if only a small percentage of hobbyists who enter into the hobby undertake breeding programmes, it is a good thing.

And as for L46 being good for the Hypancistrus Genus.

I don't think that it causes neglect initially, but as rightly pointed out this is a sexy fish, also an elusive fish to obtain, whether it's the cost or the numbers available, one leads to the other.

Since the L46 export ban, and this may just be my imagination it seems that a lot more Hypancistrus species have become available in the hobby, and demand generates supply.

In the course of time more L46's will become available, the high price it commands, and it's not that difficult to breed (This site has shown the way) and it's sexiness.

I'll also make an assumption here, and this may be completely wrong, but I guess the Hypancistrus Genus as a whole is fairly long lived for a relatively small fish.

Many fish in this family are gorgeous, but I guess a general concensus of opinion would make this the best looking pleco in any poll, my vote would go to L255 by the way. (Anybody know anybody has bred L255, I have 3 pairs and tips are welcome)

So I reckon if the upsurge in the popularity of the Hypancistrus Genus as a whole is due to the lack of L46's, and as the latter become available people will have choices to make, either to persevere with the species they've bought , or replace with L46's.

If the answer is the latter, just think that the vast majority of Lno's in LFS are wild caught, and unless a serious long term effort is going to be made to breed them they are best left in their native habitat.

Dave

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