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FAQs about the Business of Crooked Dealings; Purported and Real 

Related Articles: Stocking a Business, Open Letter to the Trade re Quarantining Livestock, Growing Reef Corals For Profit, Pond Service Business, Don't Sell Non-Aquatic Plants!, Live Plants & Macro-Algae (IZOO 98 Report), Marine Macro-Algae, Ornamental Marine Algae/How to Raise & Market It, Compatible Marine SpeciesMarine Fishes, Selection, Display in the Industry, Damsels, Clownfishes, Hawkfishes

Related FAQs: Livestock Business 1, Livestock Business 2Livestock Business 3, & FAQs on: Marine Wholesale,  & FAQs on: Wholesalers, Transshippers, Jobbers, & Sources For: FW Fish & Invert. Livestock, FW Plants, Pondfishes/Comets, Marine Algae, SW Invertebrates, SW Fishes, & From/By Source Countries, & Facilities: Collecting Stations, Holding Systems, Breeding/Aquaculture, & Research, Tradeshows, Crooked Dealings, CITES, Tariffs, Permits, Other Confiscatory Conventions, Moving Livestock, Growing Reef Corals, Tridacnid Clam Biz

Some Folks/Business/Org.s Mentioned:
Anthony Calfo,
R.L.C. Export & Import ERI, MAC, Steve Robinson, Lombardo's (et alias's) Songnam co in Vietnam  

Crooked Dealings... LFS... esp...      11/8/13
Dear Wet Web Crew,
<Brent>
    In my continuous search for new suppliers I have come across another company that absolutely does not deserve to be sent money. We started working with Pets 4 Us Dubai in September. After receiving a stock list an order was placed. A proforma was then received, and subsequently paid.
This company has done nothing but make excuses since the proforma was paid. I just once again want to save others from going through the pain of having their money stolen.
<Ah yes>
The Companies Information
PETS 4 US Dubai/
Seaview Ornamental Fish Trading

Address:
Box No. 90040, Dubai
<http://www.yello.ae/location/dubai >, Emirates
Phone: *+9714-2667677 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +9714-2667677 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting*
Fax: +97142667688
    Just hoping to save some other retail stores out there from wasting their money!
Brent
Aquatica
bneil@aquariummontreal.com
<Will post your input. Bob Fenner>

Crooked Dealings   5/17/13
Dear Crew,
<Brent; please send along your contact info. for posting so folks won't take this as a move against a competitor or such>
    I just wanted to send you this email to add to the crooked dealings section. I am the Live Stock Manager at a pet store in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and wanted to report a recent experience to prevent the same thing from happening to others, we are all in this together! Recently I placed an order with a company called OAFA Peru (http://www.oafa-aquarium.com/micro.htm ). I do understand why you advise never sending money to a company you have never dealt with before,
<Yes... credit card, transfer that is revocable>
 however it has been our experience that the industry does work in this fashion until a relationship is established. We have been operating for 10 years and have never had this issue but we did understand it would be a matter of time before we experienced it. Anyways, to continue I placed an order with this company and during the time we were placing the order their communication was fantastic, all emails answered within 24 hours. The second we had a confirmation that the fund transfer had gone through all communication ended on the company's end. Repeated attempts to call have ended in being hung up on. I am sending this in the hope of sparing others from losing significant sums of money trying to deal with this company.
Below is the complete information I have on this company.
Thanks Very Much!
OAFA Peru
Av. Las Flores 430 San Juan Bautista - Iquitos - Peru
51965649015
erpanduro@yahoo.com
Re: Crooked Dealings    5/17/13

Dear Crew,
    Here is my contact information.
Brent
Aquatica
Pointe Claire, Quebec
www.aquariummontreal.com
<Thank you Brent. Will post altogether. Bob Fenner>
Re: Crooked Dealings    5/17/13

there is a phone number with that as well 514-428-0099
<Mmm, will post this as well then; unless you write back to leave it off.
BobF>

Steve Robinson To Be Sentenced- 8/20/11
http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_18711110
Ret Talbot
www.RetTalbot.com
Mmm, when I spoke with Steve a couple months back he denied this case was real. BobF

Ghost white Cortez Angel...first ever.    6/29/11
OMG!
Look what we just caught in Mexico...
<Ahh, the royal "we">
This is the first and only white Cortez angel I have ever seen in 30 years of diving.
Clarion angels and hybrids are much easier to get.
I wonder what to charge for it?
Japan will take it for 3.5 k.....but perhaps it might stay on this side of the world.
Better photos very soon ie. Friday.
Many Cortez and passer angels coming in as well.
<I thought you were still in jail for the Clipperton incident. BobF>
Steve Robinson

Re: Ghost white Cortez Angel...first ever.     6/29/11
Jail?
I have been working . Mexico all this time!
You must have been talking to a competitor...always a source of good info.
<Ahhh. Thank you for this correction>

Steve Robinson To Be Sentenced- 8/20/11
http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_18711110
Ret Talbot
www.RetTalbot.com
Mmm, when I spoke with Steve a couple months back he denied this case was real. BobF
We got 2 hybrids in February, I nearly went to Easter Island in March....Mexico in April again.... and the permits for our new station were issued in May....I set up a new station and we have been shipping for over a month.
<Nice!>
The white Cortez is a first [ the photos terrible] and although many passers have shown a melanistic streak, we have never seen it in Cortez.
It will help pay for the new station.
<I collected in Baja and the Revillagigedos before you... have never seen such a genetic mosaic period>
[USFWS killed the Clippertons they took....by aquarium error ie. too many fish in a instantly set up tank.]
<Rats!>
Clipperton was to be again with the Monaco Aquarium on board this time but the tanker grounding put everything off the table for now.
Steve Robinson
Re: Ghost white Cortez Angel...first ever.     6/29/11
I've only been collecting in Baja since the first permit in 1979....
We shipped our first ever.....20 boxes on Jan 4th, 1980.
<Has it been this/that long? I remember first meeting you in the early 80's w/ Chris Turk, here in San Diego... I testified to a federal court re Bob Snodgrass and Don Wilkie (the then Chief Aquarist and Director of the (William T. Vaughn) Scripps Aquarium) re charges against them re collecting during the ban... in 93 I believe. BobF>
Steve Robinson
CORTEZ MARINE
3144 Diablo Ave
Hayward, Calif.
94545
Our Blog --->>> http://cortezmarine.blogspot.com/

Anthony Calfo Bio/MACNA 2010   7/17/10
Hi Bob,
<Hi James>
I couldn't help becoming a little upset reading Anthony's bio on the MACNA 2010 site. In particular, he states "Anthony has authored the reef aquarium books, "Book of Coral Propagation, Volume 1" (ReadingTrees.com) & "Reef Invertebrates", and numerous articles for print and electronic journals at large." Geez, no credit given to you at all on the Reef Invertebrate book. Unless it has been changed, my copy of the book reads "By Anthony Calfo & Robert Fenner".
It would have been proper to state Anthony co-authored Reef Invertebrates with Robert Fenner.
Just venting a little.
Cheers,
James
<This is an act of thievery and outright dishonesty James. BobF>
Re: Anthony Calfo Bio/MACNA 2010
Yes, it is.  And, I believe you were very helpful in getting Anthony where he is today, and that's the thanks you get.  It's hard to believe how close you and Anthony were at one time and then see a complete turn around.  Makes me wonder if the word "friendship" is in his vocabulary.
<James I am satisfied (for myself) that I was his friend... Am given to understand he has had some extreme reversals with others these past years. Perhaps this has soured his personality, acted to turn him away from himself. B>
Re: Calfo

Calfo
> Hello guys,
> For some reason there was a message about Calfo in my mailbox; I've moved it into yours, James. Hope that's right.
> I've never met Calfo so can't comment either way. But it does seem jolly rum to not mention your co-author in something formal like that.
> Cheers, Neale
Am adding "jolly rum" to my vernacular... and liquor cabinet. B

About Aquatic Connection, and input re businesses on WWM   7/10/10
I have been wanting to buy from Aquatic Connection in Florida. I have read a couple of bad reviews about their business and was wondering if this could be true or could these reviews just be disgruntled customers?
<Could be either, or a mix>
Do you have any info about this store?
<I do not>
Becky Ward
<BobF>

To Web Administrator   3/25/10
Dear Administrator,
<Mmmm>
A comment posted by someone mentioned our company name Aqualease and staff.
This comment is causing us prejudice as It has been posted on your site only to prove that our company is involved in wild collection when Aqualease has nothing to do in matter appearing on your website.
I hope for removal of article within 48hours.
<"If wishes were fishes...">
Should it still there after required period, we will seek legal advice.
<Good luck>
Thanks
Aqualease ( Mauritius )
<Who is this? Where is this mention made? What is your specific complaint with it? I will accrue your statements in the same area. Bob Fenner>

Wet Pets Sri Lanka -- 12/14/09
Hello WWM Crew.
<Mike>
I just came across this thread:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqbizsubwebindex/swfishlvstk.htm
Unfortunately, too late for me.
I sent Wet Pets PVT in Sri Lanka a $1500 prepayment back in September for a live fish shipment.
For the first month or so there were constant excuses why they couldn't ship.
The last 2 1/2 months have been excuses why he can't refund my payment.
There have been numerous promises of repayment, but, to date, nothing.
<Oh...>
Your readership should be warned to stay away from this company.
They are no good, and business is hard enough without throwing money away on criminals.
<Agreed wholeheartedly>
If you like, I can forward you as many of his emails to me, with broken promises, as you would like.
<Will post your statements Mike. This should be sufficient. Bob Fenner>
Thank you for your time.
Michael Stern
914-661-3128
www.NYAquatic.com
Follow up to wet pets international 6/26/10

Hello all,
<Michael>
I just wanted to send you a follow up to this comment that you posted a while back:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqbizsubwebindex/crookslvstk.htm
It took 9 months, but I finally got a shipment from them last week.
They were not able to deliver the fish I had originally contracted with them for, but they did deliver the full value I had prepaid.
I do ultimately believe they had fallen on hard times, but did finally make good on everything.
Thanks as always for the great site.
Michael Stern
www.NYAquatic.com
<Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Anthony Calfo... unethical practices   5/12/09
It has come to my attention that a former friend, pet-fish content producer has elected to steal from me by having printed and selling a work we co-authored... a "fourth printing" of Reef Invertebrates. I did not agree to this pressing nor to the cheesy ads promoting Anthony's 'zine et al. added to this edition. I ask that you not purchase this illegal edition and eschew doing business with Mr. Calfo period.
Bob Fenner

Can you help? Aq. industry... ready?    2/8/08 Hello Mr Fenner, <Constantine>I am reaching out to you to see if you can possibly help me. I know you are a very busy man so If you cannot help, I completely understand. As of May 2007, I took on a venture to devote my life to the business of marine ornamentals/corals/etc. <Mmm, why?> I have had an increasingly hard time in trying to find exporters to supply me with corals. I have been the victim of fraud twice in Indonesia sending over $10,000 but no product. <Who?> I really want to make this work. I'm trying to get good reputable contacts so I can place an order and I'm a little hesitant with everything I find on the internet. I know many see the industry as cut throat so getting info by word of mouth is virtually non-existent in my circles. <Not amongst "A" players... we need to start further back in this conversation>I have a thorough business plan that has taken 1.5 years to complete. I operate a small 900 square foot warehouse space <Too small...> and I'm doing well with inverts/drygoods, etc, but I want to take it to the next level. I have searched WWM high and low, and can't seem to find this information. <...? What information?> you can help in any way I would greatly appreciate it. Sincerely Constantine <Who are you? Have you worked in the trade before? In what capacity? For whom? Bob Fenner>

Re: Can you help? SW lvstk. wholesale rel.  2-9-08 Hi Mr. Fenner, <Constantine> The company's name was Ocean Park World in Indonesia (East Java) The mans name is Dedy Yuhistra. Hopefully this information will help others. <I as well> I understand you get tons of email's with request of suppliers from your experience, and reading your responses, I know you just don't want to share that info to anyone. I know credibility is at stake. <Yes> Hopefully we can meet down the road (at a conference maybe) and we can chat, and I can go into more detail. After all, first impressions are quite important. <Mmm, can be... I am not a very "judgmental" person... I 'measure' people by their deeds...> It was a pleasure talking to you. C <And you, BobF>

Going Big Time in the coral reef organism supply biz  G-Day Bob  My name is Chad Peters from The Reef Keeper. I have been in business for about 9 years. I have bought from everyone out their some of the best stuff came from Walt's place without any question of course. I have recently moved to Florida from Boston. I am in the process of setting up a outdoor greenhouse well actually it will look more like vats sitting out side no real greenhouse. Screened in not really covered. I have allot of connections all over the world Solomon's Bali, Jakarta, Indo, Fiji, Tonga, Marshals etc. I also know allot of people here in the U.S. Well let me get to the point. I am contacting you because I see you help allot of people with business relations. Joe Steble from? Brian from Holiday coral, Golden Ina and Wave Rider in LA. All get the best Indo. propagated coral and Vietnam Clams out their do you know where their getting them from?  <Some of their sources I am familiar with, yes>  also would it be in my best interest importing directly myself or working with someone else. that I have mentioned?  <Really depends principally on three factors... principally on whether you can justify the volume in terms of what you can handle, sell in a period of time... buying direct calls for large volumes (dozens of boxes, hundreds to thousands of organisms/pieces in a shipment... and Your knowledge, facilities and tolerance for dealing with troubles... CITES, Customs, the Airlines... MOST folks are much better off NOT buying direct from collectors, culturists... from the ultimate sources... too much hassle, too many organisms for them to handle, sell, lose>  Holiday is very expensive I did get nice stuff though. I will be selling as a wholesaler in south Florida so price is important. I also have allot of stores in the Northeast also. Allot will be shipped too. Thanks for your time will be waiting to here from you.  Thanks  Chad  The Reef Keeper  <I would think this move over very carefully... When you believe you are ready to try buying direct, re-contact me and I will help direct or re-direct you to someone who is honest and competent to try an order. Bob Fenner>

Re: Going Big Time in the coral reef organism supply biz  Hey Bob Thanks for the quick reply. I am serious about an order in about a month set up isn't complete. I would like to know who it is that is honest and good to deal with I probably have every supplier out their I just need to be redirected as you could probably imagine I have about 50-60 suppliers across the globe. The one I'm looking for is probably sitting right under my nose?  Thanks again  <Maybe... though everyone has to order from a few suppliers... please understand me re advising you in these matters... I must need be SURE that you are also a credible player... You have how many gallons to your set-up? It is subdivided into how many sub-units... for inverts, fishes, individual shipments? Bob Fenner>

Re: Steve Robinson... One of many dissatisfied experiences... You might want to ask Steve Robinson when he plans to pay his Asian fish suppliers the tens of thousands of dollars that he has owed them for years. There is a question of continued bankruptcies and letters of non payment. Is this something that might cause concern? I guess it depends on what you really care about. <... you might try addressing Steve directly re... I am not aware of where he is, what he's up to presently. Bob Fenner> 

Importing Marine Fish 2/15/05 Hi Anthony <cheers> Thanks for your previous emails......I need to ask you if you have ever heard of ( good or bad) of a company called Aquatlantic in Brazil......... <I have no experience with them... seem to recall they may be one of those folks that e-mail heavily to solicit new biz> Just to update you since our last correspondence ( attached ), that I have been importing weekly from various countries, and selling mainly to 2 wholesalers, as I have 1 of the 2 valid import licenses here in Indonesia....Trade has been good, and revenues of over 20k US$ per month, at a healthy profit. I am ready to open my new store now, where the emphasis will be on imported rather than local fish and equipment. <do know that your long term survival in the industry may depend on dry goods... livestock alone is a very hard and volatile business to depend on alone> Hope you can help, as I am expecting a shipment in 3 days, and no-one has answered their phone in the last week. Only a small trial order of 1500 bucks. JD <alas, no my friend... no experience with these chaps. Have you "Googled" them? Anthony>

Just to let you know!! Re: Songnam co in Vietnam Bob Just to let you know, Songnam co in Vietnam are crooks!! They took $2000.00 from me and sent dead or dying clams to me(200) and promised to replace them!! I have been getting emails for 4 months now with excuses!! I don't recommend you tell others about them!! Mike Phalen Aqua-Direct <Thank you much for this Mike... As you likely or will know I am a BIG fan of stamping out crooked practices, people in our trade. Bob Fenner> 

Songnam... another data point... Crooks and/or Incompetents Bob You might want to take these guys off your list here!! They do not have a clue about collecting or shipping and sent me $2000 of dead clams!! They rip the clams from the rocks and they die!! I would not recommend them to anyone!! Mike Aqua-Direct Giant clam source Dear Sir/Madam, <Hello to you> We are from SongNam Co., LTD in Vietnam. Our company specializes in supplying kinds of Tridacna, Crocea, Maxima, Squamosa..that have two main colors :green& blue. Besides we have a lot of Marine Fishes, Soft Corals anemone, live rock, sea-star &trifling-coral-Trifling-coralish used to filter water in tank At present We have a large farm to be located in a Island. We can supply them with the large quantity, beautiful color &strong. If you need to buy them, please contact us by mail: info@songnamco.com Best wishes to you <Thank you for your note. Will share, post on WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner> Huy Khanh <Thank you for this Mike... will accrue. BobF> 

Summat about possible thievery, opinions, the Net   4/4/06 BOB,    <MICHAEL>   This Is Mike Phalen from Aqua-Direct!! You should have gotten all the facts before you decided to place this info that's is below my message on the internet for the world to see!! <... "It's the Net Mike"> In regards to allegations from Peter Savona this has been in court for 18 months now and Peter has shown the courts no proof whatsoever and has violated court orders about the proof!! He is notorious for frivolous lawsuits and has never really won a case yet!! He is not the guy he claims to be and quite frankly it is him trying to screw his partner and if you ask Walt he will verify Peter's behavior!!   In response for your posting ,I now have no choice but include you in the case of Libel and Slander that will be in the courts real soon due to his posting of my picture on his website!! Not a very bright person!! You seem like a very intelligent guy so why would you not have wanted to hear my side of the story   first!!! I will be in further contact with you soon!! <... please send along "your side of the story"... will gladly post. Bob Fenner>     Hi From Fiji Dear Mr. Fenner, Thank you for your kind words and support, and for such a prompt reply, sometimes I get the feeling of an orphan!. I am originally from Malta, in the Mediterranean, I have been keeping freshies since I was 10, and when I migrated to Australia I got seriously into marines, it was actually a spear fishing accident, I shot a small bottom dwelling shark and when I started to clean it up, 10 pups with egg sacs popped out, so I quickly tired to setup a tank, of course not knowing anything about nitrifiers etc, LOL, from there, to trickle filters coral and so on. <Ahhh, a quintessential experience> Somehow some years later, by which time I was a telephone linesman by trade, I landed a job as an aquarist at the Underwaterworld at Manly's in Sydney, I was lucky to have a Boss that was a walking encyclopedia, Chris Warner, and I learnt so much stuff from him, about a year later I also worked under him again at the Mooloolaba Underwaterworld in Queensland for another 6 months, an even more interesting setup. <Another fortunate series of incidents> Since 1990 I got involved with Waterlife Exporters (Fiji) Ltd, becoming the second eldest company in our industry in Fiji, the first is Tony Nahacky of Aquarium Fish, another extremely knowledgeable man, with incredible diving and collecting ability, I then resided in Fiji permanently since 1992, and now am the principal owner of Waterlife. <Tony is indeed an amazing individual, and a tremendous asset to the trade> I'll be honest I came here to catch fish, but since Ocean 2000/SDC and WSI, it became necessary to export Live rock and Coral or simply not survive, there was also the Segrest's for some time with Tropical Fish (Fiji) Ltd which went out of business, their Pilipino divers did terrible damage to our fishing area, fortunately the reef has incredible ability to recover. <Am familiar with these folks, troubles... am surprised you and I have yet to meet> For some time I depended solely on live rock and dealt with a Mike Phalen, of Aqua Direct, he is what I think they call a "jobber", ( I don't know if that is  a good or bad term in the USA, so forgive my ignorance), i.e. he has no facility etc. Unfortunately he still owes us US$34,000.00, this nearly wiped me out, but somehow we survived. <I... will make inquiries re this... It is my desire that the trade be rigorous in its dealings... and I do not condone thievery> We have a 7000 sq foot building with three separate systems, fish coral and live rock, and we used to ship 4.5 tonnes of live rock into LA for 4 or 5 years, and not to boast were told it was the best rock around, now unfortunately the price war with my big competitors is so ferocious, and they have counterpart facility's in LA that support them, I don't, and still have to freelance for buyers, and after being bitten three times in the US, I now require pre payment, and I can't get a foot into LA!!. <I am a huge fan of Fiji rock (and Fijians)... as you will find from my writings. And I can see from your website that you employ similar excellent practices in your dealings with local people, techniques of cleaning, curing. The LR product from Fiji is largely responsible for the growth, size of the hobby worldwide...> I'm sure you must also know how complicated life has become for us with CITES, and the new quota system, between you and I, it is really arbitrary, and it is really hurting. <I agree... had a short conversation with Dieter Brockmann vis a vis Kirby's involvement in a writing project and the "evolution" of this bit of "law"... unserving to anyone> The only consolation I have is that I brought in a consultant from Australia 3 weeks ago, his name is Paul Hough, I think he has Dr in front, he was responsible for the Great barrier Reef Aquarium in Townsville, and he also agrees that CITES is being rather heavy handed . <We might start a club...> We are kind of struggling a bit, I have been trying to sent up an ocean based coral farm, we have already spent around US$15,000.00 on it, but somebody tried sabotage it, ( you guessed it, a competitor), it is a pity really because it is for better sustainability, and a good education tool, specially since we are located in Suva, the capital. we will try to get it going again once finances permit. Although I know that propagation is a buzz word, but I really am interested in it. I am actively looking around for funding, and yes if you happen to know anybody or organization to apply to please let me know, I do need the help, and would be thankful for any advice. <Kudos to you and your company for seeing into the future> If you do happen to come to Fiji, please do let me know, it would be wonderful to meet you, Thanks again Peter www.waterlifefiji.com <Will do indeed. Thank you for sharing your insights, experiences. I look forward to our meeting and chatting further. Bob Fenner> Less veiled threats, no more facts  - 04/05/2006 BOB    <Mike...>   Not for nothing but is this all you can say about this!! Yes it is the NET as you put it but there are laws about what you can put up on it !!! <Mike... what is it, factually... that you object to. I don't know you or the other person who sent in the original... Is it my stmt. re Tony Nahacky? I am not judging you or anyone... or identifying the stmt.s made by others as being truthful...> I am not going to send you my side as you put because I explained that in the email about what he has done and I will not slander him in reply in order to play his immature game!! <Okay... but this isn't useful data either. "Who said what, when..."> That would be the same thing he did !!  You need to ask your web designer about internet posting laws!!! <Am not interested... have been about in the trade, self-employment, the Net long enough to know what needs to be known...>   I am 49 years old and have been an aquarist/ aquarium curator/designer/ hobbyist for over 30 years and had one of the first reef systems in the USA many years ago!! <"I am 53 and have been at this for more than forty...">   Ask anyone in LA and although they might say I am tough to deal with, I am 100% honest but my NY Italian  upbringing  gives me the " No nonsense attitude" which is why I am doing well but have been burnt a few times myself!! <I say "right on" to this information and attitude. I likewise have always dealt with people honestly, fairly and consistently. Not easy to do in our trade as am very sure you and I will agree> This business has gotten way out of hand!!! "!!  You need to remove that right away and I will let it go but if not I have no choice!!   <... am not sensitive to veiled threats... > Regards   Mike Phalen <I don't remove material/s from our site w/o "good" cause... What is your gripe Mike? Specifically. Bob Fenner> Ongoing: The trade, reality, the Net - 04/05/2006 Bob    <... Mike>   I am having a difficult time believing that you don't understand or if it is really you responding to this!! Maybe we need to talk about this on the phone!! <No thanks>   You don't seem to understand that you posted a slanderous accusation from Peter Savona on your website!! <... we post most all... If I/we don't make the slander... please refer to people who have> My threats are not veiled as you put it!! Do you not understand that is against the law both internet wise and legally not allowed? Is that really hard for you to see!! I don't have to really explain it further to you as you feel I have to!!  You have a slanderous item that needs to be removed, if you don't do it as you put it  that you won't then you will be held responsible!! You need to ask a lawyer about this so it doesn't go any further and some of your responses are very childlike and I am beginning to think it is not really you responding to this as the answers are very short!!   You are not allowed to just put whatever you want on the internet!! Do you not see how this attacks my character and good name along with my business? <Mike... address the facts please. If you feel you have been slandered... please show me where. So and so states something about so and so... if it's not factual, I/we will gladly post a rebuttal. I am not "taking sides", saying you/he/anyone is at fault. I simply don't know>   Or are you trying to help Walt too? <...?> He is constantly running his mouth about me to the wholesalers in Los Angeles with out any provocation whatsoever!!! <Facts please... not hearsay> Only because I stopped him and Tim from trying to screw a exporter there who barely has $$ to survive each week!! I was there when it happened in Fiji so I know it first hand!!! <Will cc Walt Smith here re>   I am the one who put an end to it and will do so to anyone else that feels that its a common practice in this business to make others suffer!!  There are way too many thieves that are allowed to practice in this business unnoticed or allowed to change their company name and do it again to others!!! <Bingo! You state the reason/s for my putting in the resources for reproducing others input here> I am in the process of putting something out along with a black list with proof of ill dealings!!!  As far as Peter is concerned ,I will say this !! I have proven 3 times to him that I don't owe him money and according to his site and the way I paid him why would he allow me to owe him for 2-3 shipments!! makes no sense to anyone!!!! <Do you really want to discuss this? I can relate many such "multiple transactions" where folks have stolen, continue to steal from people in our trade... sad but so> I am not trying to make any enemy's in this business, you included, so why not be fair to me!! I will say no more because I don't know if you might actually be questioning me for Peter's sake <Not for anyone's particular "sake", but alls> and I would appreciate you being a little more humble in your responses please!! If you review the last email you will see the 1-2 word responses seem like your trying to outdo me for some reason!! <Also not interested> Anyway I would appreciate very highly if you can remove that info from your website within 7 days ,it serves no purpose but to hurt me and help Peter!! I can't allow that for business purposes which I am sure you understand!!   Respect me as I respect you!! <Please send along a/your definition of "respect"... your threats are less bilious as time goes on, but still...>      Regards   Mike Phalen      Ps Why was the response from crew and not your email? <... Don't know. Found it here? Mike, unless you have something substantive to state, please don't write me. Bob Fenner> Banyu Biru in Indo.  7/10/06 Bob,   <Barry>   I am the owner of Kahuna Corals and I was lucky enough to meet you at me store in Renton Washington and here you speak about Algae for a talk you gave to the Puget Sound Aquarium Society.      <Ah, I recall>   I am looking into ordering direct from a exporter in Indonesia.  Currently I am considering doing business with a supplier named Banyu Biru and I did not know if you had heard anything about this company good or bad.  The exporters require you to send payment before they ship and the last thing I want to do is send a couple thousand dollars to Indonesia and get nothing in exchange.      <Mmm, am not aware of this outfit directly or otherwise... but share your concern, caution. Is your volume of business "sufficient" to warrant such dealings? You might well be better off going with a knowable quality in the way of a transshipper... Bob Fenner>   Thank you in advance for your time.      Best Wishes,        Barry Katz

Re: Banyu Biru in Indo.  7/10/06 Bob, <Bar>     I don't know how much volume I will do. <Mmm... there are definite "margins as function of volume" to consider here... Customs, air-freight, CITES permits... and much more are cheaper by far in greater/larger shipments/dealings> I will be the first to admit that my shop is a hole in the wall, but contacting an exporter is related to my plans of shortly moving into a larger nicer retail storefront on a busy street.  I believe I can move the volume required especially since live rock can be put towards the minimum.        Also ordering direct will give me the pricing I need to compete on price as well as quality. <Mmm... no, not necessarily so. The "becoming ones own wholesaler/importer" versus dealing through others... not what it is all cracked up to be... believe me. Delayed flights, large percentages of DOAs, systems filled up with unsaleable animals... and as you stated, little to no avenue for redress... You can read my further opinions here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/bizlvstkfaqs.htm and the FAQs files in this series linked above>   If you know of any exporters you can recommend especially in Fiji I would be very grateful.      Much Thanks,        Barry Katz <I cannot emphasize this enough... Until you are really READY to take a full container (LD3)... forty or more boxes, do NOT embark on this possibly crippling practice. I do encourage you to contact Dave Palmer at Pacific Aqua Farms (near LAX) re transshipping five or ten boxes... this is a LOT of animals... may cost a couple of thousand dollars en toto... but is the best route for you to go presently. "Walk before you run"... I speak from painful and not self-experience. Bob Fenner> Pre-paying for intl. livestock... Don't  - 09/02/06 <... Thank you for sending this note along. Will post with the original on WWM... A note to all re such transactions DO NOT send funds ahead of shipment to any company you're not familiar with. Unfortunately there are crooks and incompetents in the ornamental fish trade... Some long-time established... Bob Fenner> Murray, Sorry to hear of your troubles with this company. Can you tell me where on our website the link or reference to this company is? We will gladly remove any bogus companies from our website. Sincerely, Mike Kaechele mike@wetwebmedia.com www.WetWebMedia.com Hi Mike -      Several months ago I visited WetWebMedia and found a listing for an export company in Brazil.  I e-mailed the company, received a price list, and then sent payment to them through Western Union.  I am attaching the e-mail that I received from them after my payment was received.  Unfortunately, I never received any fish, nor did I receive a refund.  I believe now that this company is a sham, and I would be gratified if you explained this on your website which still  includes information about this bogus enterprise, R.L.C. Export & Import. Orig. email Thank you, <Seems odd they would take the time to write if they were stealing...> Murray Meeker Subject: payment arrival Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 17:46:14 -0300 Dear Murray; How are you ? hope fine. Finally i received your payment; Many thanks for this. I already started to clear the paperwork and paid the taxes and imposts. Soonest i have news i will contact you back. Best regards; Leandro

West Nigeria/NYC Fish Source   8/1/06 Dear Sir / Madame, We {CYNDI  TROPICALS PLC} are export different types of tropical live fish (freshwater fish ) from the  west Africa Nigeria.. We'll be glad if your company, could give us trial. chance to supply our tropical live fish please just try us and u will gain it. our price list is available for any importer that is interested to buy. Hope to hear from u urgent. best Regard Uche 234-8058-239904 tropical_fishsupply@nyc.com <Will post, share your note. A note to browsers to take care when dealing with countries outside the U.S.. Bob Fenner> Lombardo's Hello there, In doing some research, with regard to operating a breeding/aquaculture facility here in the New England area I recall being made aware of a wholesaler in the NYC area .....Lombardo's. Can anyone help me in finding there info or contacting them. I am hitting a brick wall for some reason no matter which avenue I drive down. <they have changed their name at least once as I recall... and their reputation precedes them in many places. Do consider if that means anything to you. Try looking under "Metro Pet". Best regards, Anthony>

A question concerning ethical wholesalers Dear crew, <Hi there> thanks for all of your support over the years. I have become so successful at keeping SPS etc., I am launching my own internet based business! And yes, I will be contacting you guys to place a banner on your site shortly (working on the site now). <Yay!> I wanted to ask what wholesalers Calfo and Fenner would recommend, I don't want to use a wholesaler that condones unethical collection practices. I am considering the following (whoever I use I need access to quality SPS)- The first two are my topic picks <Okay> Pacific Aqua Farms Underwater world Golden Ina Sea Dwelling Creatures Quality Marine ERI <Most likely... are PAF, UWW, SDC and Quality... are honest and competently run. Don't know the folks at Golden well, and ERI, eh, you can check their reputation elsewhere.> Thanks, I appreciate any recommendations you can make! Tom <Anthony's out of town, touch for a few days, but will put your query in his in-box for response later. Bob Fenner>

A question concerning ethical wholesalers II Anthony, thanks a million for your reply (and Bob's too). <always welcome, my friend> I did check with Aqua Marine, unfortunately I may be locked out because of exclusivity in Richmond, even though I wont be retailing locally, just on the net. Do you perhaps know of anyone else that performs a similar function? <indeed... do consult the online yellow pages... seek an established aquarium service professional... these chaps often do fish-picking too and they are at the wholesalers weekly for their own biz usually. Going rate is about 10% of the total order cost. An extra $100 on a $1,000 order is well worth it when you see the quality of livestock picked by your trained professional rather than the random items picked by minimum wage workers> Its a shame because I am looking for precisely what they have. Thanks again, Tom <no worries... best of luck. Anthony>

Re: A question concerning ethical wholesalers Anthony and Bob thanks a million for the help: I am not trying to be a pain in the @#$ (  :), I was wondering if Bob might have any recommendations as well on suppliers or pickers that I can trust. I am looking for rare colorful SPS, ricos, zoos, clams, inverts etc. (but not so rare they shouldn't be collected!!!!) out of the usual Bali, Tonga, Hawaii, but also looking for Vanuatu, Japan, Micronesia, etc.  (looking to establish online presence with high volume (of course) and a long term relationship with a supplier preferably, but a jobber or picker would work as well). Unfortunately due to an exclusivity agreement with a LFS, Aqua Marine can't sell to me (RATS!!) I don't mind paying a little more as long as I know I will quality (as Anthony suggested!). I noticed in some of the prior correspondences with other WWM users that you would BCC various individuals in the biz and would like to ask if you don't mind, if you could for me.   Once again thanks!! I will be sponsoring your page as soon as I get a site here (in the next two weeks, all I am missing is stock), and will include a link to your site if you don't mind as you guys are priceless to this hobby. Tom <Tom, I will ask around next time I am in L.A.. Unfortunately I don't know well-enough any of the selection services/personnel to give them an endorsement of sorts. Do you know of folks outside your retail area that you might ask who they use? Lastly, I might ask the same key question very-openly on the bulletin boards/Net... like Reefs.org and see who you hear about. Lastly, knowing what little I do, I would trust the "general services" of Quality Marine, Sea Dwelling Creatures and Pacific Aquafarms... Bob Fenner>

Brazilian suppliers of marines Dear Sirs, R.L.C EXPORT & IMPORT LTDA establish since 1995 is a wholesale, exporter and importer of saltwater live tropical ornamental fish based in Rio de Janeiro/RJ, Brazil with a branch in Salvador/BA , Brazil. As we purchase directly from the divers, and our catch is done by net, and we do not use chemical products, we can offer to our customers high qualities and quantities fishes. Please find bellow the pricelist. Regards R.L.C EXPORT & IMPORT LTDA, ctsaqua@momentus.com.br <Do you have an address, URL to refer folks to? Will post this message and your email address on WetWebMedia.com
Bogus exporters from Brazil  8/16/05 Bob <Perry> <In Singapore> There have been cases of local importers who got conned by some Brazilian collectors listed on the web. Payment was made but the livestock did not arrive. <Crooks> Better warn your contacts especially newcomers to the trade about dealing with people they don't know over the net. Perry <If you have names, URL's, please send them along for posting. BobF>
Pre-paying for intl. livestock... Don't  - 09/02/06 <... Thank you for sending this note along. Will post with the original on WWM... A note to all re such transactions DO NOT send funds ahead of shipment to any company you're not familiar with. Unfortunately there are crooks and incompetents in the ornamental fish trade... Some long-time established... Bob Fenner> Murray, Sorry to hear of your troubles with this company. Can you tell me where on our website the link or reference to this company is? We will gladly remove any bogus companies from our website. Sincerely, Mike Kaechele mike@wetwebmedia.com www.WetWebMedia.com Hi Mike -      Several months ago I visited WetWebMedia and found a listing for an export company in Brazil.  I e-mailed the company, received a price list, and then sent payment to them through Western Union.  I am attaching the e-mail that I received from them after my payment was received.  Unfortunately, I never received any fish, nor did I receive a refund.  I believe now that this company is a sham, and I would be gratified if you explained this on your website which still  includes information about this bogus enterprise, R.L.C. Export & Import. Orig. email Thank you, <Seems odd they would take the time to write if they were stealing...> Murray Meeker Subject: payment arrival Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 17:46:14 -0300 Dear Murray; How are you ? hope fine. Finally i received your payment; Many thanks for this. I already started to clear the paperwork and paid the taxes and imposts. Soonest i have news i will contact you back. Best regards; Leandro

MAC Correspondence I wanted you to see this. It appears that your distrust of MAC that you wrote me about may be warranted. They only want to "certify" fish if they have a 1% DOA rate and a 1% dead while holding rate at each point in the chain of custody. <Ludicrous. As stated before, in Paul.H's hands there is no such thing as "certification"... the man and this program are an outright FRAUD. I am writing the Packard Foundation re their trust and cash in this persons ideas and encourage others to do so. Ridiculous... these pie in the sky "standards" have naught to do with reality... and there is NO CHANCE of doing any of this "checking" economically at any length. Bob Fenner> My MAC Correspondence  Back from Mexico... Just wanted to post the last communication I sent to MAC (David Vossler) so you guys know where I stand on this. Here are my main two concerns with the MAC standards. They are the same concerns I expressed during the public review session. 1. 1% DOA- I only bring in hand caught fish from the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and occasionally Hawaii. I am the ONLY wholesaler that is not importing fish from the Philippines and Indonesia. As we know, those are the two countries with the most collection/handling problems and longest flights. I have been told that you are receiving input from importers that their DOA is around 1% currently. Rarely do I have a 1% DOA rate- it's more like 3%-5%, and that is with HAND CAUGHT ANIMALS that are known to be hardy species. I have worked for 3 major wholesalers, have been present when shipments were unpacked, and can promise you without a doubt that the DOA is more than 1% for the majority of species. The next day, the DOA is more than 1% also for those animals. I personally unpack ALL of my fish shipments. Can the other wholesalers that are reporting data to you say the same or are they depending on their pack crew to provide the data? If you use 1% as the figure, I can PROMISE you that there will be NO MAC certified damsels in the United States. That's just one example, but there are many other species that are similar. For instance, if I import 100 Green Chromis and 2 get smushed in the corner of the bag during shipping (very common), the other perfectly healthy 98 are now not certified. I already know that MAC certified fish will be costing me more money- you can argue that it won't, but when you start adding this much paperwork to an industry there are costs involved. I will bring in ONE shipment of MAC certified animals that ends up becoming uncertified because of some silly problem and I won't bother to waste my money on MAC animals again. If you're so confident in the 1% data being reported to you, then I say it makes sense to use a higher rate (3%-5%) for the trial period. It looks much better to then go back and lower the rate for the large scale implantation of the program. That says "This industry is doing even better than we originally thought". If you start low, and then, as David said, raise the rate to be more in line with reality, you are saying "The industry is doing much worse than we originally thought". Possible Solutions: a. The only solution I see as making sense is to have MAC representatives present during unpacking at each point along the chain for a trial research period. The representatives would record the DOA rates. You don't have to do this for every place that wants certification, just enough to provide some REALISTIC DOA rates. In lieu of this, set the DOA rates for the pilot program higher, and let the bar code system determine the actual rates. Adjust from that point. b. David suggested that if a species became uncertified, that you could market it as coming from a MAC certified facility so you don't lose money by purchasing a certified animal and having to sell it as uncertified. That makes things too confusing- you'd then have MAC Certified Product, MAC Certified Facility Product, and Uncertified Product. I think that is a bad idea. 2. Unsuitable Species List- This is the one that will cause me to withdraw my support from MAC if it is not done correctly. Where are the statistics for every species available in this hobby showing their mortality rates?? I'd venture to guess that there are NONE. Knowing this, how could you ever determine what species are suitable?? There are many things that live wonderfully for the 2-3 weeks necessary to get them through the chain and to the hobbyist, but that have HIGH mortality rates after 1,3,6 months. So if you use industry professionals as the determiners, you will have incorrect data. I worry that MAC will use the Unsuitable Species list to ban things we do not have the technology to keep at this time. A prime example is Goniopora sp. This coral is the 3rd most imported, and the vast majority die at about the 6 month mark. Should this be listed as an unsuitable species?? I say NO. Why? Because 10 years ago all SPS (Acroporas, Hydnophoras, Pocilloporas, Stylophoras, etc..) corals were considered practically impossible to keep by all but the elite hobbyists. Had MAC been around and called them "Unsuitable", hobbyists would not have had access to them. Because hobbyists had access to them on a regular basis, the knowledge and technology was able to advance and the "key" to keeping these corals was figured out. These corals are not only able to be kept in captivity now, but they thrive and GROW! SPS corals are now the bread and butter of coral aquaculture! Goniopora, mentioned above, is currently tough to keep. I am embarking on a research project with Dr. Ron Shimek and the Marine Aquarium Societies of North America to start unlocking the keys to this coral. There are people having great success, but no one has pinpointed the exact requirements. Once we do this, Goniopora will be as easy to keep as any of the others! What makes me nervous about a "list" of Unsuitable Species is that the US Government would have access to it. They look to MAC to set the standard for the industry. If they see that MAC feels certain animals should be "banned" from the certification program, those are the same animals that the USCRTF could decide should be banned from import. That is VERY dangerous. Possible Solution: Instead of sitting down and determining what species currently have serious mortality rates, then having to update the list when animals were eventually determined to be viable, an alternate solution is to have a short list of things which are NEVER viable. Things that we KNOW the requirements for, and realize that it is practically impossible to fulfill those requirements in captivity. Off the top of my head, here would be my list: ANIMALS THAT GET TOO LARGE- ALL Sharks/Rays/Skates- They get too big and need tanks that are much larger than 99.9% of hobbyists have. Certain Groupers and Snappers that are popular in the trade also reach enormous size. ANIMALS THAT ARE OBLIGATE FEEDERS ON HARD TO OBTAIN/EXPENSIVE FOODS- The Orange Spotted Filefish is a popular species because of it's gorgeous coloration, but its food source is coral polyps. No one is going to feed these things expensive coral polyps, so they always end up wasting away. There are other species (especially butterflies) that are obligate polyp or sponge feeders and should not be imported. DEADLY ANIMALS- Blue Ring Octopus Certain people that import for Public Aquaria are probably going to disagree with this (or any) list. It is important to remember that MAC should be creating programs that affect the majority of the industry, not the minority, and the majority is catering to hobbyists.



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