All Fish Hobbyists - You Need To Know This Urgently
Posted 22 October 2008 - 11:01 AM
Last week representatives of the pet industry attended a meeting in Canberra with officials from Department of the Environment & Water & also the Bureau of Rural Sciences. We are advised from this meeting that they intend, effective 7th November, to recategorise ALL of the fish species currently on their "Grey List" as "Noxious".
This would result in all of these fish being illegal to sell or even keep privately, with the sanctions of fines & possible convictions for anyone caught doing so, & the seizing & destroying of the fish.
The full grey list can be viewed on http://www.brs.gov.au/ornamental , but includes amongst others most of the large American cichlids, all arowanas, bichirs, knifefish, stingrays, eels, koi & a number of large catfish & "exotics". In effect almost all large fish kept in the hobby today.
It is also important to stress that this list is not final, & other species can be added later.
If allowed to proceed this legislation will decimate our hobby, & if this is of concern to you we need your help to stop it. One of the major problems is that the Government Departments have mainly consulted wholesalers who are not badly effected by the fish listed, & we need to ensure that they learn just how much opposition is out there to this proposal.
THE ONLY THING THAT WILL STOP THIS OUTRAGE IS IF WE BURY THE DEPARTMENTS & MINISTER IN OBJECTIONS. Hobbyists, retailers & aquarium societies are all banding together to give a unified response to achieve adequate consultation.
Attached please find a pro forma letter that we would urge you sign & email to the parties listed, & preferably also your local member as well. Of course feel free to add your comments or write your own if you prefer.
Please also tell anyone eelse you know & ask them to help - part of the problem is no -one has been warned this was coming, & they have given us so little time to respond.
PLEASE ACT NOW - AFTER 7th NOVEMBER IT WILL BE TOO LATE. Don't leave it to others - we need every voice we can muster, only weight of numbers will make a difference.
Email contacts are:-
For the attention of :-
Mr Anthony Burke, Minister DAFF, PO Box 6022, Parliament House, Canberra, 2600
Mr Peter Garrett, Minister DEWHA, PO Box 6022, Parliament House, Canberra,2600
Mr Anthony Moore, Bureau of Rural Science, GPO Box 858 Canberra 2601
Mr Nick Gascoine, Department of Environment, Water, Heritage & the Arts GPO Box 787, Canberra, ACT,2601
Re ; Proposed extension of the Australian & National Noxious Fish List
It has been brought to my attention that your department(s) intend to upgrade all of the fish species currently on the National Grey List to the category of Noxious, & I wish to object & oppose such action.
I am alarmed that this intention was only made known to a few industry representatives last week yet is proposed to be finalised by 7th November. This is clearly inadequate time for all interested parties to be informed & respond, & I preface my objections with a request that any decisions be delayed for sixty days to enable fair & reasonable consultation. I note also that to date that consultation which has occurred has mainly been with parties such as industry wholesalers who are largely unaffected by the proposal, & you need to be made aware of the very large number of retailers, hobbyists & members of aquarium societies who will be adversely affected.
- Unlike the current Noxious list, the proposed extension now includes many widely owned aquarium species, & many of the most prized & valuable in the hobby. Fish such as the American Cichlids, Arowanas, Stingrays,Knifefish, Eels, Bichirs & others form the heart of the collections of most serious aquarists, & are the economic mainstay of many aquarium retailers. Indeed many retailers would struggle to survive this proposal, particularly the specialist retailers who cannot generate sufficient profit if deprived of their most valuable sales. Note also that many hobbyists have tens ( & some hundreds) of thousands of dollars worth of fish in their collections, which value your proposal would wipe out over night.
- Any recategorisation should be on a species by species basis, not a blanket ban, & the "scientific" basis for such action needs to be both reasonable & transparent, & widely consulted rather than just an arbitrary subjective departmental opinion. Many of these species could not survive &/or reproduce in our waterways - due to temperature, water chemistry & predators - & even of those that theoretically could many have been kept as pets here for decades without problem.
- How can one reasonably claim the listed fish are worse than many not targeted, or is the ultimate intention to ban all non-native Australian fish? How can it be that a common goldfish is not banned when it can & does live in our colder & polluted waterways. Taken to it's logical conclusion are we to tell all pet shops in Australia they cannot sell goldfish, & all Australian children that they cannot have a goldfish in a bowl?
- Far from protecting our environment the proposal will have the opposite effect. Regrettably it will spawn a black market just as has occurred with reptiles & birds, & remove any chance of proper regulation. And fish which are today very valuable & unlikely to be released in waterways will become worthless & in the hands of many alienated hobbyists.
Certainly there are species on your list that need attention, but there are many that do not, & thought also needs to be given to alternatives such as registration, micro-chipping & perhaps even sterilization of some other more questionable species. I urge you to take a far more considered & informed approach to this issue.
Posted 22 October 2008 - 11:37 AM
Posted 22 October 2008 - 11:53 AM
This is the 2 letters, that need to be sent out, on your own letterhead to indicate our worries.
Please do this, as I see this as the "Thin edge of the wedge" as it will not stop here & we will ALL soon be selling, all livebearers, tetras etc, if we don’t stop this.
YOU’RE LETTERHEAD HERE
The letters need to be sent to these two people:
Mr. Anthony Moore
Fisheries and Marine Sciences,
Dept of Rural Sciences;
Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry;
G,P.O. Box 858
Canberra. ACT. 2601.
Mr. Nick Gascoigne
Exotic Species Regulation,
Dept of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
G.P.O Box 787
Canberra. A.C.T. 2601
I/We have just been informed that a meeting of your Working Group took place in Canberra on 16/10/08 to discuss and declare around 400 species of exotic tropical fish as NOXIOUS, NOXIOUS to us means that they cannot be kept, bred, traded, Or sold anywhere in Australia, all in the name of the precautionary principle among other non-scientific principles. NOXIOUS also means to us that once a fish has been so declared all State Fisheries Departments will have to do something about them, i.e. all such animals shall be confiscated and destroyed, without any form of compensation whatsoever, simply because your collective Group in their "wisdom" deem it so. Well, I/we have some news for you and it is all bad as follows:
1. By declaring all these species as NOXIOUS you are condemning hundreds of thousands of people all over Australia as criminals by "the stroke of a pen" overnight.
2. Declaring these species as NOXIOUS means the owners have to destroy/or have destroyed all the adult breeders and progeny in their possession, and if you misguidedly believe this will occur, you are on a different planet. It simply will not happen.
3. Once this becomes law, you and the State Government Departments will have to police it, and right now you cannot prevent smuggled species coming in across the border, let alone employ hundreds of thousands of the necessary Fisheries personnel, with the specific aquaristic knowledge of these species to be able to clearly identify the animals in possession of the aquarist/retailer before confiscation and destruction can take place.
4. A law or regulation like this will force all sales of these fish "UNDERGROUND" not, I/we repeat not, to have them destroyed. Sure, you may prevent sales of fish in Retail shops, but the aquarist and hobby Groups will still trade in and you will be unable to prevent it.
5. Various aquaristic associations will inform you that the unanimous majority of their members who keep, breed, and sell these fish are extremely responsible of the animals in their care, and the necessity for non-release into the environment, simply because they can supplement their current income by breeding and disposing of their progeny to retailers and other like minded members at meeting nights and auctions.
6. By the declaration as NOXIOUS of a greater number of these animals that are being bred, traded, kept and sold Australia wide, and therein not allow their sale or disposal WILL ENSURE the release of such species into the environment, with all the consequences such actions will entail, simply because of your Group's unthoughtful and unnecessary actions.
7. We believe that a far lesser approach should be adopted to leave these species on the grey/white list to be watched over in case anyone of them should suddenly form a feral population somewhere in Australia. Just because some of them have gone feral elsewhere in the World does not automatically mean it will occur here, and the reason for feral populations elsewhere is because those Countries have free access to these fish, whereas we don't, and people have tended to dump their fish. Here in Australia, we cannot and will probably never be allowed to import these fish, so the ones that are here are now being bred by aquarists for re-sale in the trade, and while this occurs the majority of them will remain in captivity and not be dumped. They will remain so, until and when they should die out over time by natural causes of not being kept and bred, as has occurred with a number of species, eg, Herichthys cyanoguttatum.
Some of these species have been in Australia for 50 to 60 years, particularly some of the cichlid species, and all but a few have entered the environment either accidentally or otherwise, and while they are left on such a list "grey or white" , they will remain in aquarists/retailer hands for the trade to continue to sell them.
If however, they were to become NOXIOUS, YOUR ACTIONS will bring about a dramatic shift in aquarists minds to one of dumping their adults and progeny into the environment, that will do far greater damage to our river systems, than has already occurred with Tilapia species in the North and Cyprinus carpio and Gambusia species have done in the South.
IF THIS IS WHAT YOUR INTENSION'S ARE, THEN YOU ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT Direction BY DECLARING THESE SPECIES AS NOXIOUS!!
I/we plead with your collective groups of individuals to re-think this strategy, as I/we are sure that your professional expertise would not be able to withstand such a "hit" your "resume", if you still intend to go ahead with this position.l/we are hopeful that this is not the case. The ball is now "in your court" so to speak, and I/we look forward to any comments you may have.
Your signature here
Posted 22 October 2008 - 12:43 PM
both bounced back...
Posted 22 October 2008 - 01:07 PM
Posted 22 October 2008 - 02:41 PM
Posted 22 October 2008 - 03:57 PM
Posted 22 October 2008 - 04:25 PM
Well mine was, the task of searching for illegals was one of his while with Fisheries/DPI, and He said it is amazing the info they can gather via sites like this.....ISP, Billing info from suppliers etc etc.
Posted 22 October 2008 - 04:34 PM
So this act needs to be stopped for more reasons than one...
Posted 22 October 2008 - 06:39 PM
Posted 22 October 2008 - 06:41 PM
DON'T LEAVE THIS TO OTHERS................ EVERY SINGLE MEMBER SHOULD ACT.....NOW.
Either Copy & Paste the letters posted here, or write your own letters to everyone you can think of.
Posted 22 October 2008 - 07:27 PM
The ornamental fish industry in Australia - which includes traders, fish breeders, retail outlets and the hobby industry - is estimated to be worth $350 million a year.
Aquarium fish make great pets, but if they are released into the wild they can pose a serious threat to Australia’s aquatic biodiversity.
Ornamental fish and aquarium plants can be dumped or released, often making their way into our waterways. This has resulted in a number of exotic fish species establishing a presence in Australia, seriously affecting the biodiversity of our freshwater systems.
Whereas some control is already occurring, through quarantine regulations and State fishery regulations, there is no consistency between the regulatory agencies dealing with the issue of noxious, aquatic pests. Despite several attempts to regulate the industry, nothing workable has eventuated.
To address this problem, the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council has endorsed a national strategy - A Strategic Approach to the Management of Ornamental Fish in Australia. The strategy was developed by the Ornamental Fish Policy Working Group in close consultation with industry and other stakeholders. It looks at the potential for aquarium fish to become pests and makes seven main recommendations on managing and regulating their trade. Key recommendations include the need for a nationally recognised noxious species list; new management frameworks for the ornamental sector, better communication with stakeholders and a public awareness campaign on the dangers of releasing fish where they can get into waterways, and what to do with them if they are no longer wanted.
An Ornamental Fish Management Implementation Group has been created to progress the implementation of the strategy. This group has representatives from all jurisdictions as well as industry and hobby sector representatives and a member from the Aquatic Animal Health Committee.
Is there any way of aquiring the evidence to back up the claims made in this above statement? Case studies even?
If they are released... can be dumped or released... has resulted in establishing a presence. While I don't doubt that fish are being released into waterways, I've caught guppies and mollies in creeks, but these aren't the fish in question. I know convicts have been found as far south as Melbourne in a waterway behind a power station but have yet to hear of a dovii being netted in Esperance?!?!
Blanket banning tankbusters and exotics without evidence and study to back up their effect on our waterways is irresponsible on the departments behalf. I'm all for protecting our diverse waterways from potential pests, but a mass ban seems well over the top.
Posted 23 October 2008 - 09:23 AM
Posted 23 October 2008 - 10:25 AM
Im posting these letters tonight, paper is more effective than emails. I am also texting all of my friends to get in on this now.
Everyone make sure you take part this will effect everyone.
For Great Justice
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