Recently, reports have been circulating around the web that the Florida Fish and Wildlife is trying to regulate the sales of aquatic animals in the state. There are even a few stories about FWC officials showing up at this year’s MACNA in Orlando and issuing warnings to vendors and attendees of the event. The effect of the laws recently put in place is that everyone who sales or trades aquatic livestock in the state must have the appropriate permit. According to the FWC’s Rules and Regulations the reason for this is due to the massive influx of non-native species to the state, most of which have the potential to wreak havoc on local ecosystems.
So who all is affected by these rules? In a nutshell…anyone who owns pets. A lot of companies and individuals own their own little menageries. These can include saltwater aquarium hobbyists, zoos, pet shops, and anywhere else there is the potential for livestock sales or bartering. FWC officers will perform routine inspections (ask the MACNA attendees about this one if you doubt me) to make sure that you not only have the proper permits, but that the living conditions the animals are exposed to are adequate.
I’m not quite sure what to think about this sort of regulation. Part of me thinks it’s just a ploy by the Florida government to get their fingers into a multi-billion dollar industry. However, the other part of me thinks they are actually trying to protect their local environment from further exposure to foreign animals, as well as ensuring captive animals are being taken care of.