There has been some discussion between myself and some other NANFA members recently about the regulations regarding shipping native fishes between states in the U.S. and the legalities of such activities. Please forgive me if you know this already, but I thought not everyone was aware of the differences in regulations from state-to-state. This pertains to "game" fishes, "non-game" fishes and fishes that are destined to end up in an aquarium. Or all three. What I had thought that many people were also unaware of is that some states do not allow you to ship native fishes to them, even fishes that are native to that state, for any purpose.
I apologize that I have not frequented the forum much. Perhaps I would be more aware of peoples' thoughts on these things if I had. Because I have done my own efforts over the years to do what I thought was legally "compliant", I have become out-of-touch with the community. Please forgive me if you already know the things I am about to share with you, but I am sharing it anyways because I don't know what legislation you may be aware of and from what I do know, I see a big problem out there.
Some of the problems I'm seeing out there are vet health-check requirements of any fishes to be shipped, annual state permits that are in some cases $90.00 to $100.00 USD per year for each state to ship any fishes, species-specific state import requirements, requirements of the receiving state government to have detailed records of all of your collection locations and, worst yet, the complete disallowing of anyone to ship any native fishes to some states.
Why do I bring these things up, you may ask? I'm a vendor and should be able to deal with these things, right? Well, I am, but I see the problem as bigger than one I can deal with alone. Most specifically, the problem of states disallowing the shipment of any native fishes to their state. I will admit, I am a little selfish in this regard. If I were to tell you that I wanted these laws to change only so that you could ship fishes to those states, that would be a lie. But what I'm seeing from government agencies is growing to the point that it can effect the entire hobby of native fish collecting and sales. By vendors or otherwise.
What am I going to do about this? Heretofore, I have refrained from posting my legal findings on the forum due to the fact that I didn't want other vendors to "steal" information that it has in some cases taken me years to acquire. But I came to the realization this evening that me "hoarding" that information is not helping anyone, even me. So what I am going to do is to start posting my legal findings on the forum so that everyone can be aware of the requirements to have fishes shipped to their state. Also so that if fish can't be shipped somewhere, contacts can be made and perhaps the law can be changed.
For those of you who have heard me touting the NANFA Code of Ethics lately and are sick of it, let me apologize. Please allow me to quote one of the NANFA objectives: "to increase and disseminate knowledge about North America's native fishes and their habitats among aquarium hobbyists, biologists, fish and wildlife officials, anglers, educators, students, and others, through publications, electronic media, regional and national meetings, and other means." Let me increase your knowledge about the legalities of keeping native fishes in aquaria, so that we all can learn "The captive propagation of native fishes [that] can play a key role in conservation efforts"!
Thanks for reading! Please look for my upcoming posts in the Rules & Regs section. Please note that I haven't yet investigated all 50 states. The process takes a long time. But I hope to post steadily. Also, I welcome your feedback. Please reply to this post, send me a PM, or drop me an email or give me a call. Thanks!