I was watching a television show the other day while I had some down time and noticed a Red Macaw that was being housed in extremely poor conditions by an owner who had no clue on how to properly care for the animal. Then my mind began to wander and I started thinking about endangered animals and animals that required some sort of license in order to own them. Delving further into imagination and thought, I then wondered if aquarium owners should be required to possess a license in order to purchase fish and corals. I know this idea would not be a very popular one, and I’m not advocating it in any sense. However, I do feel that there is an extremely large number of irresponsible pet owners in this world, and I would do whatever I could to prevent these people from owning animals that they can mistreat. Additionally, with all the talk about banning various coral species, applying certain other regulations to the aquarium trade might prevent legislation that could kill our hobby altogether.
There are many animals that are illegal in a lot of different states. Certain reptiles, arthropods, and other exotic animals are outright banned, while many others require special permits and other special documentation. The animals requiring these regulations are usually dangerous or somewhat endangered. Some of the regulations on exotic pets are federal, while several are based on local laws. Now, my question for dedicated saltwater and reef aquarium enthusiasts…would you support local or federal laws restricting our wonderful hobby? I know this is like asking if you would like to shoot yourself in the foot, but what if restrictions on the hobby greatly promoted conservation? What if requiring potential aquarium owners to purchase a license, or at least take come form of animal husbandry education, greatly prevented the pointless death of a countless number of aquarium fish, invertebrates, and corals?
I know walking down this path could lead to a slippery slope of regulations and frustrations, but what if it saved our reefs? I’m not advocating anything at this point, but just getting a conversation going. What do you think? What would better serve conservation efforts? What would prevent unfit people from getting into this hobby only to kill everything and get out in less than a year? What would keep other government regulations that could ruin this hobby from barging in?
Your thoughts, objections, comments?