'Common' Priority Species and Non-CARES/IUCN-listed Fish

Discussion in 'CBP questions and answers' started by tjudy, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. tjudy

    tjudy Advisory Board Staff Member

    We are very rapidly growing the list of priority species listed in the CBP program. Great! But questions are arising about some species that are so common in the hobby that they are used as feeder fish :eek: , and about species that are not on either of the base lists that we want to add.

    'Common' Priority List Species -
    Dr. Paul V Loiselle has stated many times that the best thing that can happen to a threatened species is for it to become a popular success in the hobby and cultured on fish farms in huge numbers. A good examples are the white cloud mountain minnow (Tanichthys albonubes), the rainbow fish Melanotaenia boesmani and M. lacustris, the Celebes rainbow (Telmatherina ladigesi) and the Lake Malawi cichlid Pseudotropheus demasoni. All of them are produced commercially, continue to be popular in the hobby and are not going to disappear from the hobby. But they are still vulnerable (or worse) in the wild. If the species qualifies based upon its IUCN Redlist or CARES status, then it will be on our priority list. A big part of this program is awareness education. If a new hobbyist, or old hobbyist new to the idea of conservation priority, discovers that these common fish are threatened, then the program is being successful.

    Fish that are not on either CARES or the IUCN Redlist...
    There are two situations that would result in us needing to research or get some advice on the relevance of adding a species due to its vulnerability in the wild. One, the IUCN redlist states 'data deficient', 'conservation dependent' or 'needs updating'. For example, the cherry barb is listed as 'conservation dependent', which means that if whatever conservation efforts are being done were to stop, the fish could go extinct within 5 years. In a case like this we turn to other experts, and in the case of cherry barbs we are told by knowledgeable people that cherry barbs are very vulnerable in the wild, but difficulty getting into Sri Lanka to study what is going on prevents the UCN list from being updated officially... so we include Puntius titteya on out list.

    Two, both the CARES Priority list and the IUCN Redlist are woefully incomplete. So if we get a hint that a species should be listed as a priority, then we do the research, find the experts and make a judgement call. For example, neither list includes the diamond tetra (Moenkhousia pittieri), but we know from export reports and a well-weritten article in TFH from a couple years ago that the lake this fish is found in is so heavily polluted that the species is now lives only in one small tributary to the lake... not even its natural habitat (the lake). So we will include diamond tetras (if someone has them and lists them).

    Species at risk of being lost to the hobby, but are not threatened in the wild...
    This is the tricky one. Yes, we want to think about fish that are rare in the hobby. But, if the fish is not at risk in the wild, should we make it a priority? I think so, but the criteria to do so must be a combination of things:
    • legal/logistical barriers to commercial import from the wild
    • legal/logistical barriers to hobby collection from the wild
    • lack of commercial or hobby reproduction
    • rarity in the hobby (nationwide... not just locally)
    Another concept that has popped up is one we should discuss.... hybrid risk. There are some species that are not threatened in the wild, but the risk of hybridization in the hobby is very high. Two fish come to mind very quickly: Endler's live bearers (Peocilia wingei) and the three-spot cichlid from Central America (Amphilophus trimaculatus). Both are used (and abused) to produce colorful hybrids. I am not calling for a boycott of hybrid fish. If we want to list these species as priority in order to preserve the non-hybrid species, then we will need to add a source criteria for including a keepers' fish in the program. In other words, just saying you have some Endler's will not be enough. THere are too many being sold as pure species that are not. Just as there are a lot of colorless flowerhorn cichlids sold as trimacs.

    I suggest that in the case of fish that we want to add due to hybrid risk (Randy started a thread on Endler's already), that we designate a manager for the species. That person would be responsible for verifying the legitimacy of a keepers' strain. This cannot be solely based on what the fish looks like... because many hybrid lines look ok. The key will be source material. The manager would be responsible for maintaining a list of vetted sources outside the club. Once the lines are in the club, we SHOULD be able to say that they are ok if they are coming from a member participating in the program. This requires that everyone be responsible enough to NOT add fish from outside the program unless they know that they are OK.
    Dave likes this.
  2. Marine590622

    Marine590622 Advisory Board Staff Member

    Works for me, again, I do not have a lot invested as I am holding a know clean line and it would be easy to replace that line, so I could go either way with the Endler, but I think it is worth discussing so we can be consistent. I like the idea of a manager for a species that is listed only because of hybrid risk. I agree the look of the fish is not sufficient. I would be happy to be the "endler" manager but that raises a question of conflict of interest. Is our program stronger if the person vetting a collection of endlers or Amphilophus trimaculatus has no interest one way or the other?
  3. tjudy

    tjudy Advisory Board Staff Member

    Since the program is non-competitive, there should not be any conflict of interest. I would want the person with the most interest in a species (and therefore the most experience) to be the manager. What would the 'advantage' be for there to be conflict of interest? If a person wants to use a MAAH CBP label on a fish to charge more for it, s/he is way overestimating the value of a CBP program. In the long run, most of these programs have to beg people to take the fish. Just wait until we have five bags of Xenotoca eiseni show up at a meeting. We will all be buying each others fish! Great for gene flow....
  4. Marine590622

    Marine590622 Advisory Board Staff Member

    Agreed, there really is no conflict of interest other then for bragging rights, but there is the appearence of a conflict of interest.
  5. Dave

    Dave Moderator Staff Member

    I can see adding in a fish like the trimac. It can be very difficult to find them as a pure line in the hobby. Then again, I believe they are still being imported from time to time. It seems to me that one of the criteria for adding a fish that is not endangered in the wild would be availability in the hobby, and not hybridization in the hobby. So, if trimacs are seldome if ever exported now, then by all means add them to the list. The same goes for Endler's. However, if either of these fish are exported even anually, then I am not certain they would need to be added to the CBP list. Endler's are not the only live bearer used for hybridization when it comes to breeding livebearers. Are we going to start adding all the "wild caught" stocks of livebearer simply because of all the "sport" lines? Certainly this would be considered on a case by case basis. I am all for adding either of these fish, but only if the hybridization in the hobby is truly threatening the availability of the species in the hobby.
  6. tjudy

    tjudy Advisory Board Staff Member

    I think that it is best not to add species to the list unless multiple problems exist that threaten the presence of the fish in the hobby. I do not know about the frequency of importation from the wild for either Endler's or trimacs. Assuming (this needs to be verified) that there are issues getting wild fish, the points in favor of adding Endler's would be:

    • legal/logisitical barriers to import of wild fish
    • hybrid risk
    For trimacs, they would be
    • legal/logistical barriers to import of wild fish
    • hybrid risk
    • rarity in the hobby (because a pure trimac is certainly rare these days)
  7. Dave

    Dave Moderator Staff Member

    Okay, we are on the same page then.;)
  8. REVTODD

    REVTODD Active Member Staff Member

    Sounds good to me so far.

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