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July 2009 FAMA Editor's Note

Know Thy Fishkeeping Enemies

By Clay Jackson

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It’s time that participants in the aquarium hobby became politically knowledgeable about how the aquarium hobby is being assailed from several fronts (something that is, unfortunately, becoming more common). Even better, hobbyists need to become politically active against those forces who have aligned themselves against the hobby.

Knowledge is Power
A couple of days after this issue is put to bed, April 23 to be exact, a congressional subcommittee decides the fate of House Resolution 669. Should this bill, aka “The Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act,” get the green light from the subcommittee members, it will be considered for a House of Representatives vote. If it passes the House, it goes before the Senate, and if successful there, only the President stands in the way of it becoming law. By utilizing terms like “invasive species” HR 669 is attempting to slip a much more insidious agenda through Congress.

Should HR 669 ever become law it will effectively end the trade in all freshwater and marine fishes and invertebrates that are not native to the United States. There go most fish wholesalers, retail fish stores, aquarium shows and import/export businesses. The only legal fish will be goldfish, and to get a species on an “accepted” list would require time and great expensive to do so. The bill probably won’t pass, but that’s not the point. Last year, this same bill (different number) never made it out of committee. A significant number of the bill’s sponsors are also members of the subcommittee deciding its fate. Each time a bill clears a hurdle its sponsors and backers are emboldened for the next go-round. To find out the latest on HR 669, click here. Stay informed, and always be ready to act.

Get Active
The other night I was imploring some local aquarium society members to submit their anti-HR 669 e-mails to the congressmen and woman on the subcommittee. I told them it was easy, would take no more than 5 minutes, and I gave them the website information. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice very many of them jotting down the information.

Here’s what I mean by become politically active. Should HR 669 get out of committee this week, it is not too late. You can still e-mail the congressperson in your district and tell him or her to vote no on HR 669. Be sure to research organizations to whom you give money to be sure they are supporting causes you agree with. Encourage your friends to act. Knowledge is power only if you do something with it.

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