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Re: [anubiasdesign] Re: HR 996 Invasive Wildlife

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  • Richard Pierce
    To state with certitude that lionfish were introduced by aquarists is speaking from a position of ignorance on the issues of marine invasive species and the
    Message 1 of 84 , Mar 21, 2013
      To state with certitude that lionfish were introduced by aquarists is
      speaking from a position of ignorance on the issues of marine invasive
      species and the role of ballast water. Ballast water and hull fouling
      have unambiguously been linked to many exotic marine introductions.
      With regards to lionfish, ballast water is one of two competing
      hypotheses, neither one of which can be currently excluded. Also note
      that ballast water and bilge water are two entirely different things.

      A recent (2007) study "Mitochondrial cytochrome b analysis reveals two
      invasive lionfish species with strong founder effects in the western
      Atlantic" (Available for free at
      http://cbm.usb.ve/sv/assets/Uploads/PezLeon/Hamneretal.2007J.Fish.Biol.71.pdf)
      showed that genetic analysis could not determine if the lionfish were
      introduced by one event or by a series of multiple events. There is
      evidence of a small founder population indicating that the original
      founders came from a limited area. Interestingly the data also
      indicates that there two species of lionfish in the western Atlantic,
      Pterois volitans and P. miles.

      In my opinion, further evidence for non-aquarist mediated introduction
      of Pacific fish into the western Atlantic comes from the paper "A
      hotspot of non-native marine fishes: evidence for the aquarium trade as
      an invasion pathway" (Available for free at
      http://www.int-res.com/articles/meps2004/266/m266p239.pdf). Although
      the authors conclude that aquarist release of exotic fish is responsible
      for the sightings of Pacific fish off the Florida coast, I disagree with
      their conclusions. I don't believe that the authors have any experience
      in the marine aquarium trade and the conclusions are based solely on
      mining three databases and applying statistical analysis.

      Looking at Figure 1, you will find one occurrence of a panther grouper
      very close to shore. I would agree that this is likely an aquarium
      release. However there are also sightings of Emperor Angelfish, several
      other Pacific Angelfish and even a Moorish Idol! These are all
      high-value fish and there is no reason that someone would release them
      rather than sell or trade them in. These are not cheap beginner's
      fish. Most aquarium stores would likely take these back and public
      aquaria are not flooded with these fish. Does anyone believe that
      someone would purposely release a Moorish Idol? Yellow tangs are not
      high value fish and are common in the aquarium trade, but they don't get
      large and there is no reason that they would be purposely released
      rather than traded.

      I believe that it is more informative to note which fish are missing
      from the sightings reported here and in the Exotic Species Sighting
      Program: http://www.reef.org/exotics . The authors above make a point
      of correlating the fish sighted with their abundance in the aquarium
      trade, but where are the sightings of damselfishes and clownfishes?
      Surely these are imported and sold much more frequently and the fish
      sighted, yet none have ever been reported off Florida. There are also
      no triggerfish on the list, which like lionfish get large, belligerent
      and may not have much trade value, depending on the species.

      The key difference between angelfish, tangs and lionfish vs. clownfish,
      damsels and triggers is in life history. This was also not taken into
      account in the "Hotspot" paper. The reported exotic species all release
      their eggs into the plankton and have a relatively long pelagic phase.
      Clownfish, damselfish and triggers build nests and guard their eggs, and
      the larvae spend much less time in the plankton before metamorphosing.
      The longer the planktonic phase of an organism, the more likely it is
      that ballast water is a viable transport mechanism. This doesn't
      disprove the hypothesis that lions were introduced by aquarists but it
      supports the overall observed patterns of exotic fish in the western
      Atlantic. We will probably never know how lionfish became established,
      but there is no advantage in assigning the blame to aquarists when there
      is plenty of evidence for a valid alternative hypothesis.

      Best wishes,
      Rich Pierce



      On 3/21/2013 12:20 PM, Batfish Aquatics wrote:
      > I just want to toss my two coins in on the issue of lion fish origins. A lot of aquarists have raised their hands and shouted "not it!" when faced with the responsibility of lion fish in the Atlantic. I believe this is a case of denial or wishful thinking. To imagine that they arrived via cargo ballast or ocean currents or evil Djinn is just silly. They're here because irresponsible aquarists released them and also due to accidental releases.
      >
      > The Volitans lion fish is among the top five popular marine fishes. It is the saltwater version of an Oscar. They're sold small, they get big. They're expensive to feed. They're hard to kept other fish with after a period. But, they're personable and become pets. It takes no leap of imagination to see someone releasing one, particularly I you've ever worked either in retail aquarium trade or a public aquarium. You get several calls a week asking you to take a pet lion fish that's outgrown it's tank. You have to say no or be overrun with 12"+ lions that won't sell. I cannot imagine that desperate aquarists in Miami, Virginia beach, or islip haven't dumped lions at the beach.
      >
      > We also have anecdotal evidence of fish lost in beach locations during storm events.
      >
      > No, friends, I am sorry to say. Aquarists released lions. Period. Is it possible that some arrived by other means? Sure. But, the simplest solution is usually the true one.
      >
      > For this one, and many others, the hobby has a whole needs to step up and take responsibility. This does not mean supporting laws like this one. I do not agree with this law. The one size fits all, blanket laws like this just do not work in the real world. We saw this with the ban on snakeheads a few years ago. While many species should've been restricted, the ban restricted the entire family. As a result, many small, dwarf, tropical species are now illegal in the United States. These desirable species pose little or no threat to the ecology of the overall country. Similarly, Virginia recently passes a law restricting all species of crawfish. This was designed to stop the spread of rusty craws, marmokrebs, etc. It was not designed to eliminate the sale of dwarf craws or electric blue lobsters; it's done that.
      >
      > Hobbyists need to take responsibility by education. The myth of the fish-grows-to-fit-its-tank needs to die. Violently. Screaming. On fire. Fish stores need to accurately report the size fish will reach AND refuse to sell fish to people who do not have adequate tanks. There's no way a lion should go into a 29 gallon, and the maximum size is not 6-8" (like it says on petco's tank). Would you sell a St. Bernard puppy to someone in a tiny apartment? Of course not; fish need the same respect.
      >
      > If we can educate the general populace better, the hobby can do better. Years ago, during THAT craze, I had a woman come into my shop to buy 28 white and orange feeder fish. She was a kindergarten teacher. They wanted to take these fish to a local stream and free the little nemo fish. And she just did not get how WRONG this was. Education is the key to stopping this sort of thing.
      >
      > J.
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • harry perry
      Didn t Mark ask for this crap to stop???? Harry ________________________________ From: Shawn To: anubiasdesign@yahoogroups.com Sent:
      Message 84 of 84 , Mar 25, 2013
        Didn't Mark ask for this crap to stop????

        Harry


        From: Shawn <shawnc2k@...>
        To: anubiasdesign@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, March 24, 2013 11:19 AM
        Subject: [anubiasdesign] Re: HR 996 Invasive Wildlife

         
        Neither of the big box pet store chains have an adoption tank policy although at the managers discretion some local stores do take adoptions. For liability reasons they are not allowed to sell any of the adoption fish but will often let hobbyists who they know take them to give them a home and get them healthy. Often by the time a tank buster is brought to a big box store the animals has some type of ailment, usually due to poor water conditions.

        Two weeks ago I walked into my local store and was given an adoption fish, a breeder size male Koi angel with fins tattered because it had been in a 29 gallon tank with a 10 inch synodontus "eruptus" hybrid and a 8 inch sailfin pleco. The angel is now looking much healthier and will be out of one of my quarantine tanks soon.

        The issue with even a club taking in adoptions is that many of the tank buster species sold in big box stores require large tanks. Think of LFS that sell red tail catfish that while beautiful will grow to be a monster with a mouth big enough to swallow a duck whole. Between tanks size and dealing with getting a fish healthy, it is limited to those who are experienced and have the tank space.

        --- In anubiasdesign@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Meyer" <michael@...> wrote:
        >
        > I wonder if this is a universal policy as our local big box stores do have
        > an "adoption tank". It wouldn't house the multitude of Oscars or Pacus that
        > need rescuing. We do see quite a few adoptions coming thru our club
        > website. It's hardly a dent, but it is a little. One of the local mom and
        > pop stores does take in large fish from hobbyists, but most do not. They
        > will not buy from hobbyists, breeders or former customers. The reason is,
        > they often would get sick fish that could contaminate the rest of their
        > inventory. Plus, as sort of mentioned already, the cost of maintaining the
        > fish does not compare to what they would be able to sell the fish for.
        > Selling fish does not make very many people rich and barely makes a living
        > for most people in the industry. I don't think it is reasonable to expect
        > any store to have a way to adopt a fish, but we should really show support
        > for those that do.
        >
        > Mike
        >
        >
        >
        > From: anubiasdesign@yahoogroups.com [mailto:anubiasdesign@yahoogroups.com]
        > On Behalf Of Donna Ransome
        > Sent: Friday, March 22, 2013 8:14 PM
        > To: anubiasdesign@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: RE: [anubiasdesign] Re: HR 996 Invasive Wildlife
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Petsmart-Petco will not take hobbyist fish.even easily sellable fish and
        > even for free.
        >
        >
        >
        > Public aquariums as well are tired of being the dumping grounds for
        > tankbuster fish that careless hobbyists bought without regard to long-term
        > care. They most often refuse to take the fish. How many giant plecos or
        >
        > Red tailed catfish can you put on display? If you don't have them in a
        > display, how do you get funding for their care?
        >
        >
        >
        > I know a hobbyist that had a large scale operation for the rescue of
        > tankbuster fish. He would rehome as many as possible. He had to stop after
        > many years because of lack of funding, even though he contributed more than
        > he could afford of his own money to the effort.
        >
        >
        >
        > How do you identify the culprit who dumped a fish in order to fine or
        > enforce?
        >
        > _____
        >
        > From: anubiasdesign@yahoogroups.com [mailto:anubiasdesign@yahoogroups.com]
        > On Behalf Of Robert DeBonis
        > Sent: Friday, March 22, 2013 3:29 PM
        > To: anubiasdesign@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [anubiasdesign] Re: HR 996 Invasive Wildlife
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Finally a voice of reason. Someone actually thinking outside the box.
        >
        >
        >
        > I like the idea "Why wouldn't it be possible to have your local big box
        > store (Petsmart-Petco- etc) set up a adoption tank for fish no longer
        > wanted?
        >
        > It makes sense and is absolutely worth a shot. Contacting them through an
        > Aquarium Society will give you more leverage.
        >
        >
        >
        > "Why wouldn't a public aquarium be willing to accept a fish that out grew
        > your tank?" Yes, I'm sure there are public aquariums that would accept fish
        > that out
        >
        > grow hobbyists tanks. They pay a lot of money for large adult fish. It's a
        > matter of contacting them, also preferably through an Aquarium Society, one
        > institution
        >
        > to another.
        >
        > There is one solution to HR996's general ambiguous solution that I can come
        > up with and that is to put together and introduce a bill specifically
        > banning the Dumping of Fish into our waterways and the Dumping of Pets into
        > our environment. This bill MUST HAVE TEETH or else it will be meaningless.
        > The fines for Dumping have to be substantial and must be enforced. In
        > addition, this bill has to be introduced to focus only on Dumping, not the
        > importation
        >
        > and possession of Ornamental Fish and other Pets. It should be solely
        > written to stop Dumping, not possession.
        >
        >
        >
        > I think if this were the case the Bill would have much wider acceptance.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        >
        > From: plantsrocksandfish <mailto:onsiteinatlanta@...>
        >
        > To: anubiasdesign@yahoogroups.com
        >
        > Sent: Friday, March 22, 2013 11:29 AM
        >
        > Subject: [anubiasdesign] Re: HR 996 Invasive Wildlife
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Very interesting discussion. Normally I don't like reading messages when I
        > receive the Daily Digest because they contain all the earlier posts and
        > often the messages have to be truncated, but this time I opened the complete
        > digest to read all the messages.
        > While I enjoyed the information I will say that I was a little disappointed
        > that no solutions were offered. Sure there was a strong Catholic Guilt, were
        > we are responsible for everything that happens, to the group that is in
        > complete denial. I do believe the truth is somewhere in the middle.
        > I do not have any answers but did think about it. I don't believe the ASPCA
        > has all the answers but they do try to rescue dogs and cats by putting them
        > up for auction. If there are no takers they sometimes have to put the animal
        > down. I certainly am not for that but if you have ever had a feral cat come
        > into your home, as I had, you can understand it.
        > Why wouldn't it be possible to have your local big box store
        > (Petsmart-Petco- etc) set up a adoption tank for fish no longer wanted? Why
        > wouldn't a public aquarium be willing to accept a fish that out grew your
        > tank?
        > I also play with rocks. I can normally donate something to a museum. But
        > once I do I lose all control. If they want to display them... great but they
        > can just as well use them for fill or gravel for a road. I can see any
        > donated fish just being humanly being put down. It would seem to me that
        > might help stop having fish released in the wild.
        > I certainly don't offer this as an answer but it might be a help and
        > everyone here, that works in the field, might be able to bring the ideas to
        > the attention of the correct people.
        > I would welcome any constructive criticism but really am offering this only
        > to get people to think of what they can do other than write to their
        > congressman. George Libby
        >



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