A short per­sonal account of the sec­ond meet­ing of the PP in Hamburg/​Germany — Peter Finke

A short per­sonal account of the sec­ond meet­ing of the PP in Hamburg/​Germany

Peter Finke

Our sec­ond meet­ing is over. At first, it did not look good: Some friends who wanted to come from far away (Amer­ica! Asia! France!) were pre­vented by hur­ri­canes, sud­denly can­celled flights or job rea­sons. But in the end all said unan­i­mously: It was a good, a very good inter­na­tional meet­ing; it will have taken us further.

See­ing the Paros in our tanks and breed­ing them we eas­ily for­get the real­ity in the home­lands of our fish. Our project strives at see­ing this dif­fer­ently; this is the most impor­tant of its aims. So, in the begin­ning we saw and lis­tened to two out­stand­ing, con­crete video-​presentations of our Chi­nese friend Went­ian Shi (Guangzhou) on the actual sit­u­a­tion of many species from Bangka, Beli­tung and Kali­man­tan Ten­gah, among them new forms that have not been found and described hith­erto. These were reports about today’s real­ity. They were dis­il­lu­sion­ing, but hope­ful too, char­ac­ter­ized by cap­ti­vat­ing pre­ci­sion and exper­tise. A cen­tral result was the redis­cov­ery of P. deiss­neri that last year was thought to have been extinct already. Now we will be able breed them again.

Then Chris­t­ian Kop­pitz (Halle/​Saale) explained to us how we could use Paros as “flagship-​species” for indi­cat­ing the eco­log­i­cal value of the Asian peat swamps, an idea that we want to real­ize with the help of the Sea-​Life-​Trust. A beau­ti­ful and coura­geous small expo­si­tion, real­ized and shaped with­out help by Helene Schoubye (Den­mark) in the “Blue Planet” in Copen­hagen, tried this already; it was pre­sented to us by her. This taken together with our con­tacts to Sea Life and the Chester zoo we now have new pos­si­bil­i­ties of insti­tu­tional coop­er­a­tion which could sup­ple­ment and relieve our lim­ited capac­i­ties as enthu­si­as­tic ama­teurs. Part of this is our half-​yearly cen­sus. Raf­fael Eggli (Switzer­land) pre­sented to us a detailed and accu­rate analy­sis of seven years that now will serve to learn from it.

And this was not enough. Addi­tional to the point and exten­sive dis­cus­sions became very con­crete: We have debated on new per­spec­tives of how to secure still unspoiled habi­tats in Indone­sia, to make peo­ple in Amer­ica and Europe aware of them­selves being involved in the palm-​oil tragedy, and to devise the next steps of action. Went­ian and his Chi­nese and Japan­ese friends were hon­oured by the PP-​award for spe­cial achieve­ments for 2016/​2017, and he him­self was incor­po­rated as mem­ber into our steer­ing group. In the end many par­tic­i­pants accom­pa­g­nied Bernd Bus­sler to visit his breed­ing sta­tion and acquired off­spring of some Paro-​species else­where hardly to be found.

My per­sonal resum­mee is that it was a great, a splen­did meet­ing, per­fectly orga­nized and accom­pa­g­nied by Bernd. Thank you! The hotel (the same as two years ago) was a bit dif­fi­cult to reach, being sit­u­ated lonely on a wooden hill, but with plenty of space, very friendly per­son­als, a good ser­vice and restau­rant. Helen and I were fully sat­is­fied. The meet­ing was much more than a mere social event, it was an Eng­lish spo­ken work­ing meet­ing with def­i­nite and spe­cific results. In two years time we shall meet again, but then for the first time in a dif­fer­ent coun­try, prob­a­bly in the UK. We are quite con­fi­dent this will come about. My con­clu­sion is: Every­body who came from Poland, Switzer­land, Den­mark, China and Ger­many to Ham­burg wit­nessed an impor­tant step of the PP.

Peter Finke (Biele­feld, Germany)

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