Posted 06 December 2007 - 09:39 AM
Membership doesn't really mean much either, when it comes to collection site data. The bad guys can join just as easily as the good guys, as we've painfully seen in the past. Having a members-only database is no good compromise at all.
On the other hand, I think we should probably have such a record of good location data for right & proper scientific use. The tricky part would be maintaining it's security and making certain that only those with a seriously legitimate reason to have access to it would ever conceivably GET access to it, and only then on a demonstrated as-need basis and per-species basis, that is, never letting anyone get ahold of the entire list at once, which could be disastrous. I mean, think about it, if NANFA doesn't have a database like that, then who would? If a database like that got created by someone else because NANFA didn't have one, then we'd have no way of controlling what happens to the data. Then again, how would we determine who was worthy of getting that information? There's way too much room for error in that if you ask me. People are only human, and as such apt to make huge mistakes on occasion. If some sleazy fatcat fishmonger wants to make a big donation to NANFA, or a bigger bribe to the recordkeeper, in exchange for collection data on imperiled but highly desirable species he can then raid for fun and profit, then what's to prevent him from getting his grimy hands on that info? Who is to say that some seemingly innocent grad student wanting to do something with Ghost Shiners won't wind up working in some fishfarm someday and be tasked with the job of thinking of a new white colored fish that can be mass-harvested and dyed in pretty rainbow colors? Extreme examples, yes, but not completely implausible. How about a guy who deliberately transplants desirable fish from out of his area into his local streams just so he can save gas money when he wants to sell a bunch of them on Aquabid? ( That really happens! ) You never know WHAT will happen next, and I see no reason to make some of the worst case scenarios any more likely to occur.
I suppose the best thing to do would be nothing, in the hope that no other non-NANFA entity would be ABLE to compile a database like that. Bear in mind, of course, that several small databases like this already exist, but none are particularly exhaustive or widely encompassing. We could create the granddaddy of them all with our available resources, but while it would certainly be really cool, I still don't think that we should, and I hope you all agree. I see too many people getting big ideas in this thread already, and I don't find it comforting.
I guess what I'm saying is that while I can certainly understand why we'd want such a database, I can also understand why we most certainly wouldn't, and I hope you guys can understand it as well. If anyone would, it should be you guys. Please, don't do it.