]CORAL Magazine Sr. Editor Ret Talbot reported late last week that the “Proposed Bills on Hawaii Aquarium Fishery [are] Dead for 2012”. This news was widely met with optimism. However, we fear there could be a downside to such news.
For starters, we have yet to know why these bills didn’t move forward. Talbot also reports that there are still some ways for bills to get through before the truly final deadline in May of 2012, although he refers to such efforts as being the equivalent of “Hail Mary” passes at the end of the game. At this time, there are still technically 4 resolutions and 1 bill “active”.
Our greater concern here is that this new
s, seemingly early in the year, might lead to a false sense of “victory”. We’d caution any such feelings given that we don’t even know if, or why, we “won”. We also worry that this positive news may cause many to “let their guard down”, being unprepared should something come up unexpectedly. By the same token, we encourage you to not become apathetic over the topic in the long term. This early “good news” might give readers the sense that we “cried wolf”, and the next time Hawaii’s ongoing debate heats up, we fear aquarists won’t be as eager to get engaged.
Perhaps most disheartening is that finally, we have seen real urgency starting to build on the part of the marine aquarium hobby and industry, and suddenly, the fuel driving the need to collaborate and organize has momentarily vanished. We worry about the loss of momentum that this news could create. So we encourage you to take this news as a welcome respite, but understand the true stakes of the game. That is, the anti-aquarium fishery movement only needs to succeed in banning the trade once; we have to succeed in defending a well managed, data driven sustainable fishery every time.