June 16, 2020

North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA)

Mentioned the other day in a post my new membership to the North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA).

Image: NANFA

So what exactly is NANFA?  Well, their mission is "dedication to the appreciation, study, and conservation of the continent's native fishes." 

They're basically a non-profit organization that hits the following points with their activities:
  • Increase and disseminate knowledge about native North American fishes
  • Promote practical programs for their conservation and the protection/restoration of their natural habitats
  • Advance the educational, scientific and conservation benefits of captive maintenance and husbandry
  • Encourage the legal, environmentally responsible collection of native fishes for private aquaria as a valid use of a natural resource
  • Provide a forum for fellowship and camaraderie among its members

Now as an angler, bullets one and two really hit home to me. As an member of other conservation groups such as Trout Unlimited and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, NANFA really nests well within the two because they focus a lot of efforts on non-game fish. Sure, native brook trout and salmonids do receive love (just like TU might give) but much of the focus is on perhaps lesser-known species that call the same native cold and warmwater environments home. Chubs, shiners, darters, dace, perch, etc... perhaps not the sexiest of fish from an angling point of view, but just if not more important for a healthy ecosystem.

I found two articles in the Spring issue of American Currents (NANFA's quarterly publication) extremely interesting. The first, a deep dive into some of the history around the scientific naming of the yellow bullhead catfish (by Christopher Scharpf). The second, "The Seagreen Affair" (by Tim Aldridge) which was a microfishing trip report on the quest to find Seagreen darters. Both excellent reads!

Seagreen Darter; NCFishes.com Photo

Now, I'm not going to lie, the whole home aquarium and backyard pond aspect of this group really doesn't interest me a ton, but it is good to see them promoting responsible practices around the subject. No bucket biology or transplantation of invasive species going on here.

Anyway, just though I'd share. If this is something you're interested in learning more about, you can find their website HERE. Additionally, they share great content on social media. I found them on Instagram, but they also have an active Facebook page too.

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