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Newbie in Tassie


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Not new as such, but I failed twice at breeding bettas as a kid and had to leave my 4ft tank back in Melbourne when I moved to Tassie for a job. I'm only now in a position where I'm ready to set up a tank again. My eyes have wandered over bettas again, but I was surprised to find from the local pet store owner that nobody around here seems to have bred any in years.

Looking forward to avoiding all my childhood mistakes and eventually ending up with some baby bettas.

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Hey, Where in tas are you? Up here near Devonport they have been getting a few crowntails lately but only males. All the females are generic veiltail girls. Who is your lfs? You know that selling fish to lfs down here is actually illegal without the necessary permits. So we can't easily breed fish and sell off the excess. Inland fisheries attitude is that you either keep them or you euthenase them. Consequently I have hundreds of baby fish of various species around atm because I don't like the idea of euthenasing them when they are perfectly healthy nice little fish. I'm talking to a guy (Tim Farrel) at inland fisheries about this at the moment to see what needs to be done to be able to sell them... there was a suggestion made on here that maybe we can ship them intersate... haven't had a chance to check that one out yet but it sounds like a possibility. I can't find anyone down here that will import fish either as I'd like to bring some really good ones down from someone and establish good breeding lines of different varieties... from what I've heard the cost of getting a permit to bring fish down is only about $150 (don't know how long that lasts), so maybe we could split the cost and bring some down... maybe you know of others that might like to contribute as well? To be able to sell fish that we breed down here we need to do two things. We first need to have a breeders license from inland fisheries. Then, as stupid as this sounds, we need to be registered as a fish farm which is basically the same as the registration the big salmon farms down south have etc. Tim Farrel is the guy to talk to about this as well. I would think very carefully about whether you want to breed or not down here as selling the fish off is a costly to do legally and risky to do on the sly. Having said that I think more people should do it down here and also think work can be done to help develop changes in policies. For example, one idea I had the other day was to talk to Mr Farrel about the chance of setting up a Betta society and making it so that having financial membership of the society entitles you to bring fish along to shows (because transporting fish here is illegal too unless you are taking it from the lfs to your home), to import fish from interstate, to export fish to the mainland, and sell/distribute excess fish to lfs, the public, or other members. To my way of thinking, with good enough policies you should be able to meet the govt requirements and free up the movement of Betta (splendins and species) within the state. This is as far as I've got with this idea so far... will think about it more when I ave a little more time on my hands. I think Mr Farrel might be more open to this line of thinking than a bunch of heretic aquarists making a bunch of demands as has been the practice in the past. The aquarium industry needs to be seen to be more responsible and reasonable than they have been if they are going to be taken seriously.

Anyway, good to see another Taswegian here...

Edited by TasV
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I'm in Launceston, so not to far from Devonport (and a delightful raspberry farm between us).

I realize there are lots of loopholes, though very little information online about it and all the licenses I'd need. I don't care so much about selling the fry, it was more when I mentioned it to the local pet store owner he said nobody he knew had actually managed to do it.

I'm planning to become an export accredited veterinarian next year, and hopefully be able to follow that path to being able to do the certification in regards to health certificates for fish coming into the state and so on. I know there are not a lot of fish vets around, which may be part of the reason that the aquarium is seen as a bit unregulated at times (buying meds off the shelf whenever you feel like it, burying/flushing fish anywhere, etc), but hopefully that will change.

So an import license ($150 is not to bad if several people want to import, and I'm very close to the airport), a fishery registration and a breeding license.

Would is be feasible to set up the breeding license and fish farm registration in the name of an organisation/club with multiple sublocations/members? Just a thought.

It's very useful finding someone who has already started to look into this, I might ad.

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I will actually be in Launie this Monday to pick up a fish pond from the AMC for the kids in my marine science class... they are about to embark on some feed trials of rainbow trout. I don't know about the feasibility of any of these great ideas yet. The primary requirement of any attempt to approach Inland Fisheries, at this point in time, is well thought out requests based on the science that is sympathetic to the systems already in place. Lots of people have attempted to have the rules changed and they have resembled an angry mob and Mr Farrel will not even entertain them or their ideas... he has the backing of the law and we can jump up and down as much as we want and he can just smile and say no.. go away. I think if people were more conversant with the reasons why such restrictions are placed on us then maybe we can accommodate them and if we work with Inland Fisheries instead of demanding they change for us then maybe we could make some progress.

Logic says a few things:

1. If we keep bringing fish in from interstate the chance of bringing in pathogens, not already present here, is dramatically increased. As it stands, LFS must keep bringing stock in from interstate and not purchase fish from breeders already here. If they were allowed to buy fish from us the chance of diseases appearing, that aren't already here, is drastically reduced because the number of fish being brought in would also be drastically reduced. The thing to watch is them saying that we are absolutely right... let's stop all imports of live fish into the state altogether. By seeking the right to sell fish we breed we stand to lose the right to import from other states. We also stand to create a culture amongst aquarists here that treats the fish more like currency and the whole concept of keeping fish as a hobby to learn about them and enjoy them goes out the window... I've seen it happen... it would happen again. I don't know what the answer to this is as it seems like a catch 22 situation... damned if we do and damned if we don't. This is what spawned the idea of enabling societies or registered clubs to develop protocols to synch with the laws as they stand to allow their members to trade what they breed on the assumption that by being a part of such an organisation it demonstrates a higher level of responsibility and a willingness to follow the required guidelines. In addition to this, if organisations take on this role we are accepting responsibility for our actions and showing that we are aware, and sympathetic, of the consequences. The benefit of this is that people (the members) also become better educated in keeping fish as pets as well.

2. Tropical fish commonly kept as pets here in Australia stand next to no chance of surviving if they were to ever escape. The water temperature around here gets as low as 2 degrees in an unheated aquarium in my shed over winter. Even my goldfish, outside in its pond, goes into a metabolic shutdown over winter when there is a 2cm thick sheet of ice across it. He's only just waking up now and he's kinda hungry. The numbers of trout here would also almost guarantee that any fish released would be predated very quickly. Not being able to sell fry encourages people to release fish, sentencing them to certain death by hypothermia or predation (and it's a bit rich to take this line when brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, tiger trout (hybrids), triploid trout, and Atlantic salmon are themselves feral fish decimating galaxid populations all over the state... in the name of tourism).

3. Fish kept well will breed. Looked after properly the chances of raising the offspring to maturity is good in the hands of more experienced aquarists. Not being able to redistribute them is a matter of animal cruelty as it may encourage people to keep fish in crowded conditions, to release them, or to euthenase them by whatever means they can... humane or not... Fish would be terminated and this could occur at any stage, from eggs to maturity. There is no options for aquarists to surrender fish they can no longer look after. If there were then the fish could be humanely destroyed (my bet, however, is that they wouldn't be... once the number of fish surrendered was fully realised they would be sold on to LFS to make a buck for the Govt.... does that sound too cynical???). Animal welfare issues are not being given the consideration they ought to be in this issue. Surely Govt. ethics committees should be looking at it. Again, I don't want to shoot myself in the foot because the easiest thing for them to do is outlaw the keeping of fish altogether.

So... yeah.. I've been looking at it some but every time I mention it online in forums, I get a whole lot of nonsensical rubbish and chest beating that is neither constructive or useful... and I go away despondent about the whole situation until someone else comes along that might have a clue :)

The $150 was gleaned from conversations people have had online, here and in other places, and I can't vouch for it's accuracy BTW.

Edited by TasV
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Government ethics tend not to look at things that don't make a noise, unfortunately.

Perhaps rules don't need to be changed as such, but tweaked a little. I'm sure commercial fish breeders have multiple people involved in the breeding process, so the license must be under a company name rather than an individual's name. Might be able to register an aquarium society as a company? It's the fish farm aspect that bothers me at the moment.

And there are a lot of good reasons to buy fish locally rather than import them; diseases, welfare, cost, environmental impact etc.

Tassie is a bit funny in lots of ways about quarantine and its animals though. A dozen times I have flown in and not seen a sniffer dog or anyone checking what was actually coming into the state, yet you have to have a kennel license to own a particular number of dogs.

I'm moving house over the next few weeks, so I'm not really going to be looking into much paperwork in any great detail until I have done that and got myself a happy pair of petshop bettas, but rest assured I will keep thinking about it and possible ways to satisfy the rules and the aquarium hobby.

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