Interesting post from Walt about Tonga

Discussion in 'Other Reef Talk' started by Thales, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. [quote author=GreshamH link=topic=4168.msg50171#msg50171 date=1217179337]
    [quote author=hiepatitis link=topic=4168.msg50169#msg50169 date=1217179090]
    It's like oil. Sad to say but they're not gonna stop drilling as long as someone is making money. Despite rising gas prices, efforts for alternative fuels, and lobbyists; the depletion of this natural resource continues.

    Hopefully this won't be the same for this business.
    [/quote]

    It's not like oil, the government really doesn't have a problem with shutting us down and the US economy isn't built on MO. Every attempt has failed, but they have been half assed attempts thus far. The two groups looking to shut us down now have the power and resources to do so which is why I'm taking the time out of my schedule to meet with one of them.
    [/quote]

    Curious...who are these groups and why do they want to shut the industry down (outside of the obvious ones)?
     
  2. Thales

    Thales Past President

    [quote author=GreshamH link=topic=4168.msg50170#msg50170 date=1217179212]
    [quote author=Thales link=topic=4168.msg50168#msg50168 date=1217178566]
    I am on the fence as to whether or not that would be a bad thing in general. I think part of the major issue with the hobby isn't the economy of scale, its the treating livestock as a volume commodity over the well being of the livestock. I am often at a loss to understand why an animal flown halfway around the world should cost 15 dollars retail.
    I am all for lots of people being in the hobby, and all for entry level animals, but the pendulum drive to make things cheap has swung way too far to one side IMO.
    [/quote]

    This industry is 100% built on the economy of scale it enjoys now. It all hinges on the fact we do get cheap animals. Make them unavailable, remove that money stream, and you'll see a whole lot less businesses out there. Sure the animals won't suffer any longer which is a good thing, but a huge portion of what we know know will be gone. Think $200 Max-Jets and $800 Vortecs. Think no donations to BAR from sponsors....most will no longer be in business!!!

    [/quote]

    Yep, and like I said, I am on the fence regarding that as a good or bad thing. I guess I am not sure if unsustainable, back room, back stabbing business that destroys habitat is a good trade for people getting 14 dollar cleaner shrimp. Get rid of the nasty, dirty, lying competition and bump that cleaner shrimp up to 30 bucks and maybe I would be off the fence.

    I don't think its like oil that much, maybe more like child 'staffed' sweat shops or puppy mills.
     
  3. hiepatitis

    hiepatitis Guest

    The US won't use it's own oil but it doesn't have a problem with getting it from the desperate countries. I don't see the US government regulating any importing and I think the poorer countries will continue to export out of necessity.
     
  4. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Outside the obvious ones? The obvious ones are the reason why Theo and that's all they need.

    I'm not about to post one of the names on this site and have hobbyists heckle them. I've worked far to long on this issue to be broadsided by hobbyists with good intentions but lack of knowledge and possibly tact on the issues. I will not close the very doors I have worked on opening.

    One is very well known, the US Coral Reef Task Force. They're all over shutting us down now...yet again. Their recommendations with those of the group I'm talking with IMO would lead to a total shut down which is what they seek. 100% ban on all MO wild fish, corals and inverts.

    FWIW they cite the lack of captive bred as the very reason to shut us down.
     
  5. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    [quote author=hiepatitis link=topic=4168.msg50177#msg50177 date=1217179922]
    The US won't use it's own oil but it doesn't have a problem with getting it from the desperate countries. I don't see the US government regulating any importing and I think the poorer countries will continue to export out of necessity.
    [/quote]

    Must be nice to live in that world :) The US has all ready regulated this type of shipping and is seeking advice on further regulations. The people it is seeking advice from want a 100% ban. This industry doesn't bring in all that much money in terms over all US imports to warrant protection as you suggest.
     
  6. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    [quote author=Thales link=topic=4168.msg50176#msg50176 date=1217179840]
    [quote author=GreshamH link=topic=4168.msg50170#msg50170 date=1217179212]
    [quote author=Thales link=topic=4168.msg50168#msg50168 date=1217178566]
    I am on the fence as to whether or not that would be a bad thing in general. I think part of the major issue with the hobby isn't the economy of scale, its the treating livestock as a volume commodity over the well being of the livestock. I am often at a loss to understand why an animal flown halfway around the world should cost 15 dollars retail.
    I am all for lots of people being in the hobby, and all for entry level animals, but the pendulum drive to make things cheap has swung way too far to one side IMO.
    [/quote]

    This industry is 100% built on the economy of scale it enjoys now. It all hinges on the fact we do get cheap animals. Make them unavailable, remove that money stream, and you'll see a whole lot less businesses out there. Sure the animals won't suffer any longer which is a good thing, but a huge portion of what we know know will be gone. Think $200 Max-Jets and $800 Vortecs. Think no donations to BAR from sponsors....most will no longer be in business!!!

    [/quote]

    Yep, and like I said, I am on the fence regarding that as a good or bad thing. I guess I am not sure if unsustainable, back room, back stabbing business that destroys habitat is a good trade for people getting 14 dollar cleaner shrimp. Get rid of the nasty, dirty, lying competition and bump that cleaner shrimp up to 30 bucks and maybe I would be off the fence.

    I don't think its like oil that much, maybe more like child 'staffed' sweat shops or puppy mills.
    [/quote]

    You make it sound like I'm for unsustainable practices.....you know that is not the case and you know I favor making wild more costly (I've only been saying that for a mere decade :D ). The outright ban would do MAJOR harm to this industry. The amount of companies all ready nearly going out of business is quite staggering, and not just LFS's.
     
  7. Thales

    Thales Past President

    [quote author=GreshamH link=topic=4168.msg50181#msg50181 date=1217180452]
    You make it sound like I'm for unsustainable practices.....you know that is not the case and you know I favor making wild more costly (I've only been saying that for a mere decade :D ). [/quote]

    Nah, you are just feeling defensive this morning, and you know that I know you aren't for unsustainable practices. :D

    I am talking about generalities. In general, the whole current economy of scale the industry enjoys is built on unsustainable practices. Like you said, without the cheap animals...

    And you know that I am not for an outright ban!

    We know we both are pretty much on the same page here! :D
     
  8. Well, I know that[quote author=GreshamH link=topic=4168.msg50178#msg50178 date=1217180114]
    Outside the obvious ones? The obvious ones are the reason why Theo and that's all they need.

    I'm not about to post one of the names on this site and have hobbyists heckle them. I've worked far to long on this issue to be broadsided by hobbyists with good intentions but lack of knowledge and possibly tact on the issues. I will not close the very doors I have worked on opening.

    One is very well known, the US Coral Reef Task Force. They're all over shutting us down now...yet again. Their recommendations with those of the group I'm talking with IMO would lead to a total shut down which is what they seek. 100% ban on all MO wild fish, corals and inverts.

    FWIW they cite the lack of captive bred as the very reason to shut us down.
    [/quote]

    Well, I know there are many, many, many legitimate reasons why any organization would like to shut the MO industry down. I was just curious as to the reasons why these particular organizations wanted it shut down. FWIW, I wasnt asking to heckle and I would like to think I am pretty tactful :)

    On another note, I tend to agree with Rich in that I think we should raise the prices on these animals both from the import and export side. As much as it would hurt, I would think a lot harder about purchasing a cleaner shrimp for 30.00 and if I did, it would end up benefiting someone on the supply side anyways. But as great as that might be, how is that going to affect the industry? So now a diver gets double his pay for a shrimp but he sells far less? How does/will he benefit?

    On another another note, as much as I can and do disagree with Eddie, I think its unfair that he is always chasticized and criticized on public forums. Many of us just happen to know what he does or might have done but the reality is, nearly all, if not all, coral exporters/wholesalers/collectors take part in the back-stabbing, corruption and down right mistreatment of the animals. I have witnessed first hand, as some of you have, some of the dirty things Walt Smith can be guilty of as well. And dont forget, he was all of our friends at one point and in some round about way, many of us were willing to work for/with him. I am in no way defending any of his actions, right or wrong, but I think the way he is treated is a tad unfair, in light of what others seem to be doing with "internet impunity."
     
  9. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    No heckling was read into Theo, they don't need any other reason then the MO industry slaughters animals, the reefs are in peril and we as a nation should do what ever we can to help alliaviate the problem. One of the arguments they use is one less drop in the bucket goes that much further to not fill the bucket.

    There is no internet impunity if both parties are US citizens. If some one feels they where slandered online, they can get a lawyer and seek justice. Eddie slandered Walt and that is clear as day. Walt never mentioned Eddie by name unlike Eddie directly accusing and using Walt's name..

    You assume since people are friendly at times they are friends....unfortunately that is a poor assumption. Sometimes people act friendly as to make things be a bit smoother in person. Sometimes people give a second chance only to have it blown again.

    Eddie gets "the brunt" as you say as he sticks his head out on the chopping black and says swing! he never learns from his mistakes and never looks back :) Sorry, I'll never let that slip up slide, it's just far too funny :D
     
  10. Since I just studied this a couple of hours ago, slander, or defamation, doesnt require that the 3rd party be actually named but reasonably identifiable based on what the speaker said. In this case, everyone, including most people on the forums, knew Walt was referring to Eddie. So if were going to get technical, they probably slandered each other :) Of course, a valid defense to slander is trusth, which we probably know would be hard to come by. What I meant by internet impunity is that two people can be engaged in very similar wrongdoings but only one gets criticized for it while the other is heralded as a coral god (I know you didnt say that, BTW). I wasnt referring to the law at all but just how some folks on internet boards tend to be harsher on certain people than others. In your opinion its probably warranted but I just wanted to point out that we all know Walt and many others in the industry arent saints either. Thats all.

    That said, this wasnt meant to be argumentative. Just chiming in with my opinion on a muggy Sunday morning. As much drama is involved in this hobby, I never seem to be able to get away. Ive tried other hobbies but theres nothing like reefing to get the senses aroused :)
     
  11. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    I just spoke with a practicing lawyer about this just two weeks ago. Even if truthful, if said out of malice, it is against the law. It's actually confusing if he really is talking about Eddie since the 4th permit was his and the fifth is Jayhawks :D

    IMO there are no saints in this industry, at least on the wholesale MO side :D
     
  12. hooked

    hooked Guest


    taking your own time to fight for what you believe in is to be commended . most people arent willing to stand up for themselves anymore .

    are there any groups out there that are in support of the hobby ? something with a larger power , more money , lobbyists ? sorta like the NRA........but for reefers ?
     
  13. Malice only comes into play IF we are discussing a matter of public concern that also involves a public figure. If its a matter of public concern that involves a private individual, mere neglicence is enough. I am not sure what they are discussing rises to the level of public concern, and even then, I would hardly think Walt Smith or Eddie is a public figure :) So, chances are, it wouldnt matter if either person acted out of malice or not. The question is whether or not the statements are true and whether or not those statments would tend to adversely affects either one of their reputations. Like a true lawyer in training, im going to go with maybe :)

    Im no lawyer...heck, I havent even taken the bar yet but im going to guess that they could both be liable, to some degree, for defamation/libel. Im sure both are fibbing to some degree probably with the intention of affecting the others reputation.

    Ok, enough of the legal jargon. Back to the MO industry
     
  14. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Unfortunately Mike there really isn't. Some of the big guys have spoken to me about creating such a group but none of use have the time to put it together as well as run it. It would need it's own staff, which requires funding :(

    MASNA was supposed to be that, but they really aren't.
     
  15. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Walt is the largest MO public figure out there really. He's been on TV countless times, heck, even MTV's dating program :) If you are in the trade and don't know who Walt is, you've been under a rock for a long time. He's been interviewed in every trade mag, has ads in every trade mag, etc.

    Not that I am a fan, just pointing out he is a MO public figure :lol:

    I've never seen anyone else in this trade do such public things as Walt...like this:

    http://www.macnaxx.com/mystery-contest.php
     
  16. HAHAH...marine ornament public figure! That makes you one too Gresh. I should be careful what I say about you ;)
     
  17. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    I'm just some dude posting on the internet. I would venture to say 99% of reefers don't know who I am nor do they care :D
     
  18. Thales

    Thales Past President

    [quote author=Solitaryensis link=topic=4168.msg50184#msg50184 date=1217181550]

    On another note, I tend to agree with Rich in that I think we should raise the prices on these animals both from the import and export side. As much as it would hurt, I would think a lot harder about purchasing a cleaner shrimp for 30.00 and if I did, it would end up benefiting someone on the supply side anyways. But as great as that might be, how is that going to affect the industry? So now a diver gets double his pay for a shrimp but he sells far less? How does/will he benefit?[/quote]

    Yep, the industry is bent if not outright broken. The supply chain is whacked. Hopefully that will change, but how I am don't know.

    I think that is forgetting all of the support (warranted or unwarranted) he has gotten over the years on the net. Many rallied to his defense with the walking on corals thread, and there has been a ton of support for him from this club and recently from MARS.
    I think part of the reason he takes flack is because he uses the net to try to benefit his business by working to generate excitement with hobbyists. If he gets the benefit of those actions, it makes some kind of sense that he also risks getting taken to task on the details of those actions. Most wholesalers/collectors don't go anywhere near hobbyist forums, partially because the hobbyists aren't actually their customers and partially because they know, given the reality of their business, that its a Pandoras box. Any of the other collectors/wholesalers who venture onto hobbyist forums, including Walt, get nailed in the same way.
     
  19. Agreed, Rich. I have spoken to some wholesalers/retailers that refuse to become part of the online community, particularly because no matter what you do, somehow, someway, someone will find out about something questionable you’ve purportedly done, and post it somewhere. Its the nature of the business I suppose but it also speaks to what goes on behind closed doors. If people weren’t doing unethical things, there would be nothing to talk about and thus, nothing to hide and avoid. So avoiding the boards is probably a good thing for businesses but also a way for some folks to avoid being called out for unethical practices.

    When Eddie began posting on forums, I think he genuinely wanted to educate people on the commercial side of the hobby, as the average hobbyist rarely gets to see what happens before an animal ends up in a store. He has never really been a person to withhold information about the industry simply because there was some elitism involved. However, his participation, along with Walts and others, on the internet has really morphed into a soapbox where they can and do attack each other, along with others in the industry. At the end of the day, this really is the nature of the business now. When you take a valuable commodity from a third world country with little regulation, there should be no surprise that this is how it will turn out. People have personal interests to protect whether they care to admit it or not. Eddie and Walt are no exception to that rule.
     
  20. tuberider

    tuberider Guest

    [quote author=Solitaryensis link=topic=4168.msg50174#msg50174 date=1217179658]

    Curious...who are these groups and why do they want to shut the industry down (outside of the obvious ones)?
    [/quote]

    The MO industry is just small enough that if someone, or some organization wanted to put enough effort into a full shutdown and it succeeded, they could have serious bragging rights in the environmental community. That's what my sashimi comment was about, there are equally as bad if not worse things going on in regards to our reefs, however some of those things involve a bigger picture, giant commercial fishing vessels from China, and Japan, toxic runoff from overpopulated industrial areas etc. All of those require you go after the big guy, the MO industry is a backstabbing uncooperative snakepit, there is no unity, there are no large corporate entities with ties to other industries with fancy lawyers. We're a sitting duck waiting to be blown out of the water, all in the name of volume, bag sales and all.

    Oh, isn't it slander if spoken, and libel if written ???
     

Share This Page