| | Re: Issues with local collection
Great topic and responses.
The aquarium hobby is not the problem in most cases--look to "development" for loss of species and habitat--in many cases aquarists are the ones keeping species and developing the captive maintenance/breeding/propogation methods that allow re-introduction at a later time.
I think that collecting "wild" materials, whether it be rocks, wood, plants, or livestock can be done safely/sustainably as long as we are not greedy.
Case in point: August 2011 I was on a collecting trip with the rest of the "fish nuts" in my local club, and we found more brindled madtoms in one stretch of river than any of us had ever seen (personable little fish and great for riverine aquariums). All told, we caught about 2 dozen of them. Did we take them all?? NO! We documented (photographed/counted) what we caught (which we forwarded to our state natural resources department), and at least 18 of them were returned to the river. The rest (one or two per person) went home with aquarists who will raise them and possibly breed them. Did we put a dent in this population by our actions? Highly unlikely, and any impact we had is considerably less than the impact of field (silt/fertilizer) and urban (pollutants of all sorts) runoff from upstream on this river every year.
Many of us also collected rocks/driftwood/plant samples on the same trip, but again, in moderation.