Friday, November 03, 2006

Koi Blog Wondering

Back in July the ISW posted about a restaurant owner who was in trouble for keeping koi (Cyprinus carpio) in a tank in his place of business (Maine banned the possession of koi several years ago). Cuong Ly appealed the confiscation of his koi, and now this story in the Morning Sentinel says that he can keep the fish, but only if he 1) keeps them at home or hides them from public view 2) implants microchips in them so that Maine Wardens can always verify that he is not secretly buying new fish to replace the old ones and 3) notifies the state within 24 hours after any one of the koi dies.

The fact that the state will let Ly keep the fish but not put them on public display makes it seem like the issue is about more than just keeping koi out of Maine's waterways. I can't see how that part of the decision makes any sense, since one of the reasons Ly had the fish in his restaurant was for public viewing. I agree with one commenter who suggests that Ly be allowed to keep the koi in their old home but with a sign or the permit clearly displayed (how about some free public outreach pamphlets?).

Ly can file another appeal but hasn't decided yet if he will pursue the issue further.


Paul Decelles said...

Interesting...that Koi are regulated any where in the North is news to me. Certainly in Kansas they are allowed; I wanted some for my pond but ended up going to ye local baitshop and getting some feeder gold fish instead.

firefly said...

Here is the money quote:

"We have a billion dollar fishing industry in Maine and we need to do everything we can to protect it."

It is a gubernatorial election year and protecting the fishing industry (including against federally mandated quotas on ocean fishing) is always a hot button issue.

There are also active sportsmen's organizations up here (Sportsman's Alliance of Maine) who are influential with the rural voters.

It probably doesn't help that this man is Asian and the restaurant is in Freeport, which imposed architectural restrictions on restaurants so that even McDonald's had to remodel to look like an old Victorian building.

I have eaten at China Rose in the past -- it is very small and quiet, so while the law is the law, I doubt the presence of koi will influence millions of people to rush out and buy them. Cripes, I didn't even know they were koi.

There is a rising awareness of invasive species here, which is good on one hand, and a potential source of politically manipulable hysteria on the other. :(

Jenn said...

@firefly, you bring up some very interesting points. Plus, it makes more sense to me to focus on the ways koi are getting into Maine rather than the people that own them (i.e. supplier vs. user). A simple sign on the tank would educate anyone who wanted to buy one.

@Paul - Interesting that you bring that up, because goldfish are not allowed to be used as bait in Massachusetts (my home state), so you would never find them in a baitshop. We used to sell comets as feeder fish real cheap and occasionally we'd have to fend off fishermen. There are records of goldfish becoming invasive too :-).

The Goldfish and Koi Guy said...

I think people should be allowed to have koi. It's all about the education in the matter and people need to know and use common sense not to release koi into rivers or streams. Koi are very nice in ponds and it's a shame that past issues of people who may have done such a thing whould have caused this ban to go into effect. I think the restaurant owner should have been allowed to keep them in the restaurant but again where do you draw the line and if you make an exception for one person the rest will follow suit. I understand both sides of this issue but there is only one person that can come out on top, and thats the government. I actually read this on another blog for the first time a little while ago but you went into more detail.

Thanks for sharing, interesting!


Jamie Boyle
The Goldfish and Koi Guy