With all the complaining i want to point out what you can still do here in Tennessee.
We got some Gar, some Buffalo, some big Suckers. A few Carp. Boy we sure know how to have legal fun in our state, and no limit too with a Tennessee Fishing License. This really does not work exactly like a typical catch and release program but you can grind them up for dogfood or just throw them back, after taking a proud bloody photo to share with all your buddies. Some folks plant them in their garden but gee that's such a hassle you know. Heck, anyway they are just "Trashfish" not of any real value except for proving one's sportsmanship.
Annually many have such a great time snagging these spawning fish from the Citico Creek. You all are welcome to the Buffalo Slaughter with a proper Tennessee fishing license next spring. Come on and visit the fine state of Tennessee, just dont throw them on the bank because that is considered littering and who wants to take home or eat a sucker anyway? I guess these litterbugs got away before they were fined.
Your and my Tennessee Fishing licenses and every U.S. citizen's tax dollars continue to support and promote introductions of non-native fish throughout the state and country. I really enjoy a meal of locally Tennessee raised Rocky Mountain Rainbow Trout at 212 restaurant, and i can go just downstream while in the Sequatchie River Valley and see some of the trout farm's escapees including the well loved Chinese Grass Carp, oh i mean White Amur. We dont want to get it mixed up with another wonderful U.S. government introduction, the now maligned "Common Carp" or all those wonderful, gaudy good Japanese Koi swimming in streamside residential ponds along the Duck River just waiting for another flood.
Farmers from all over the state still plow streamside for that extra three or seven rows of corn and let their cattle relax in the now muddy water, trampling vegetation, and add "processed nutrients" to the stream, anyway some folk think green water is so much more pretty to look at. "Mr. Farmer Fred, look how beautiful that rich fresh earth is. Hey, is that a storm cloud on the horizon? Oh no, your fields are washing away! Ever hear of no-till farming?" "Naw, and i dont wanna know. I dont care about no damn little speckeled doo-dad fish anyway"
Dont forget, for all the livestock ponds the state of Tennessee allows you to import all kinds of nifty fish from across state lines to stock in your pond. Lots of fun fishin and who really cares if the next rain washes some of those fancy imported fish, mosquito fish or Ken's Georgia Giant Hybrid Bluegills downstream to the Tellico River?
We can all go to the petstore down the road and buy all kinds of exotic animals and fishes from around the world including South America, Africa and Australia. Wow, it's no telling what kind of interesting micro lifeforms are hitching a ride under the scales and those poor fish would like to be FREE. Ask any child, "Fish are our friends Mommy!" Chickamauga Lake is just down the road and we are going to a picnic tomorrow so lets bring Nemo along.
Boy, dont we just love importing global diversity and it's so fun and easy, much better than the plain old local stuff from here!
Oh yea, in case you have not been paying attention to the previous posts, it's now ILLEGAL for citizens visiting or living in the state of Tennessee to take home a few NATIVE, dace, minners, pollywogs or darterfish to quietly observe in an aquarium and learn about the natural native wonders we have in our own state. No Native Fish allowed in your home. Heck i can still buy shiners, fat head minnows or toughies at the local bait shop and damn yea, take them any where i want to.
Do you understand?
I dont. I have been very sarcastic and illustrating the absurdity of the new Bait Collecting Regulations here in Tennessee, in contrast to what is still allowed and even promoted by our government.
Ethical NANFA members and collecting are not the problem. Development, more and more hot pavement, disturbed ground, siltation, bad farming practises, excessive use of chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, culvert construction, channelization and waterflow alterations, springhead ponds and dams, draining swamps and wetlands and non-native introductions, including those by our government causing the spread of diseases and harmful non-native exotic species, are the problem that have decimated native fish populations, caused extinctions and extirpations and continue to do so.
NANFA members are not the problem.
This new TWRA regulation is trying to prevent three, and i agree, legitimate concerns.
1) The spread of disease. Ethical NANFA members do not transport and introduce fish to different watersheds thus exposing other species to contaminates, disease or parasites. Unfortunatly lots of fisherman and pond owners do, as does our government. NANFA has worked for years to educate its membership, new fish collectors and the general public to these concerns.
2) The spread of species to new ranges. Read above, and read again.
3) The capture and collection of listed fish. NANFA members research by book, publications, photographs, maps, regulations and the NANFA fellowship and resources what species are listed and off limits. Ethical native fish keepers will never endanger populations of listed fish unlike all the other common practises our society currently engages in, as pointed out and was previously stated. The transporting bait regulation and the specie identification concerns was added because most TWRA officers, as well as most bait seining fishermen, don't know the different between a Banded Sculpin and a Snail Darter, and neither did i the first time i pulled a dipnet. The difference is that we NANFA members try to know, learn and understand what we are holding in our hand, that is why we are there in the water, to experience and to gain knowledge of this natural world.
NANFA members are dedicated to the appreciation, study and conservation of our native species. It is our stated mission. We are an ally to our native fishes existence and the state of Tennessee is alienating our membership in their recent action regarding bait collecting. Fish are a resource just like the plants, birds and animals of our state. Some species are common, some are hunted, some are harvested and some are protected but it is inappropiate to proclaim that all native fish are off limits to its citizens for aquariums, home study and appreciation. Our citizens want to experience what lives in our land and waters and it is our responsibility and opportunity to do so. We want to learn and share the wonders that we find below which are unknown to most of the above surface inhabitants, hopefully before our native fishes are decimated by the real environmental damaging concerns.
Get out, get in and look under the surface. Share what you see. If you want to change the law i have suggestions and would like to hear from others in regards to how.
Casper Cox, Tennessee Representative for the North American Native Fishes Association.
Edited by Casper Cox, 19 June 2010 - 04:20 PM.