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Dear Concerned Aquarist,
We want to take a moment of your time to announce the creation of the AMDA NET & TRAINING FUND. We are establishing this fund to direct the attention of the trade and the public toward the poor handling and catch procedures used to capture the animals used in the marine aquarium hobby in certain areas of the world. This is the first of many steps to be taken to eliminate the use of sodium cyanide to catch our aquarium and food organisms in many areas of the world.
The AMDA NET & TRAINING FUND is focused on improving the chain of custody of our aquarium animals from the collectors to your local retailer. The FUND will be used to buy appropriate netting and to train the collectors in the use of those nets. By improving the catch and handling procedures at the source, a major step toward preserving the environment and improving the quality of our hobby animals will be accomplished.
Your AMDA board through its membership is committed to eliminating the use of sodium cyanide in capturing fish for the marine hobby and the food industry.
Cyanide has been used for decades to capture our aquarium fish. The practice has caused untold damage to the fish, other organisms on the reef, the environment, and to the fishermen in the Philippines and Indonesia. Even though there has been some training over the last 20 years to convert the cyanide collectors to nets, there has not been enough progress to make a real difference. To date most of the effort has been lip service with little substantial progress toward eliminating this deadly practice. The netting needed to expand the technique in practice has been in very short supply. A major step toward stopping the decades long cyanide catch practice is now at hand, and you can help by providing a donation for nets and to facilitate training to the collectors in the use of those nets. The collectors in the Philippines are interested in changing the policies of old, but they need help.
AMDA is currently at the forefront in the attempt to correct the cyanide issues in the hobby during the past months. By using AMDA funds to send our president, Steve Robinson, to the Philippines to distribute the netting and to help train the collectors, we made sure the netting got into the right hands and that they knew how to use the tool. This was the first step to solve this ongoing problem and we need to continue the effort.
With your help and other initiatives, we plan to purchase more netting and continue to provide funds to train collectors in the Philippines to use netting. By expanding the collector's ability to catch fish with netting, the number of different species available to the hobby with fewer short and long term mortalities and far less environmental damage will result. Latent mortalities are the scourge of our hobby and we are on the brink of eliminating these needless mortalities.
In past years the fish mortalities were criticized by customers and retailers, but neither party really knew how to handle the problem in the Philippines and enough fish survived to keep the hobby somewhat happy. That is changing. The losses are unacceptable and we all agree and we now have some direction to begin to solve the problem of cyanide fishing.
Retailers will benefit by our actions and our customers will have fewer problems with keeping fish. At the same time the hobby, through your local aquarium dealer, will endorse new initiatives that use captive breeding or captive grow-out as a way to supply the hobby. Indeed in the upcoming AMDA newsletter, there will be an article by Gilles LeCaillon, a member of AMDA, using new catch procedures to catch unsettled fry in the plankton drift to grow them out in a captive situation. New things are happening all the time. This is an exciting time for us.
AMDA is proud to have initiated this new effort to stop the use of cyanide in our oceans, and we will continue to support the program we started just three short months ago. Other parties have initiated funds to purchase netting. AMDA applauds any help that can be provided to the collectors in the Philippines, but we also believe that providing netting without training is like providing tools to someone without the skills to use them.
Our president, Steve Robinson, has years of experience in training Philippine collectors to catch fish with netting. With AMDA distributing the netting and assisting in the training of the collectors, we believe we have a complete program that will finally show results after years of foot dragging.
This AMDA initiative is important to create a sustainable well-managed fishery that allows the environment, the collectors, and the hobby in the United States to flourish.
AMDA believes the future of the hobby is in the hands of our retailers. We are on the verge of making significant contributions to our hobby and the environment by stopping cyanide fishing and establishing safer and better ways to collect our aquarium inhabitants.
Please become a part of this initiative.
Donations can be sent to:
AMDA Net Fund
P.O. Box #1052
Madison, FL 32341 USA
Make checks payable to: AMDA Net Fund
Visit us: http://www.amdareef.com
Photo: Me-me catches a blue tang the right way, S. Robinson
Photo: Barrier nets, S. Robinson
Photo: Cyanide damage, S. Robinson