I have been contacted on several different occasions regarding my stance on aquarium related regulations. Some people read a few articles, take things out of context and assume I’m in favor of one thing or another. Others take the time to email me and ask for my stance to get the truth. To clarify to whoever reads the articles on this site, I wanted to come out and give a straight answer that shouldn’t be misinterpreted. I do not trust politicians in any form or fashion. Therefore, I usually do not support specific bills that get proposed by any legislative body.
What I do support is responsible reefkeeping practices that are done in a way that do not negatively impact nature. This is of course taken on a case-by-case basis. I support businesses that practice in a very responsible way. This includes companies that aquaculture or mariculture their livestock, or collect wild livestock in ways that impacts the reef as little as possible. Certain bills will, from time to time, make sense for the greater good, and we will make sure to get these bills out into the public arena for proper discussion and let you make your own decisions. But we will more than likely not outright support the specifics of a single bill, which I have stated in previous articles.
Legislation can be very hard to understand if you don’t have a lawyer interpreting the document for you. When a new bill is being proposed, I rely on my own interpretations of the bill, as well as what other people are saying. Regardless, I’m all in favor of getting issues out in the open and discussing other possible bills and their repercussions. While I may not support specifics of a certain bill and what it may eventually do to vendors/transhippers/wholesalers/etc, I like the fact that legislation is being brought to light. Let’s face it, the livestock we buy/sell/trade does not get treated as it should at times. Some collectors use cyanide on some animals. Some wholesalers don’t keep their systems in the best shape. I’ve seen images of tons of dead fish at a wholesalers facility and local fish stores… it happens. Because of this, I support sensible ways to stop the senseless death of countless saltwater fish, corals, and invertebrates.
I’m a marine biologist and conservationist by both education and passion. If I have to give up my hobby to save the coral reefs and fish of the ocean, then so be it. I don’t want to be without this wonderful hobby, but I also don’t want to live in a world without ocean life. I have no problem if a few people have to lose a little money in order to prevent the deaths of fish and corals (and possible destruction of entire ecosystems). If people were being responsible stewards of our oceans from the onset, then we wouldn’t even be in this situation.
There’s a lot wrong with this hobby in its current form. So many innocent animals die just because some uneducated idiot wants to buy a “Nemo” because their child wants it. They get into the hobby, kill a few fish, and get out because it’s too expensive to maintain. But there are a lot of changes being made to make this hobby more “green” and less damaging.
The bottom line: I support protecting wildlife. We as hobbyists need to be more responsible or bills and laws will take our hobby away.