I asked my husband last night about MAC and got quite a bit of information. He was familiar with them, I had just never heard of them, so hadn't known to ask. He had a lot to say about MAC, so I'm bringing that here to share with everyone. I found it to be useful information.
First of all, the store where we worked... was not, in itself, MAC certified, but the wholesalers we dealt with, for the most part, were. The reason the store was not certified is simply due to money. Rob explained at length about how there are fees involved with being MAC certified, and that most pet stores can't afford those fees, and that many also find it pointless to be involved at that level. The number of inspectors that MAC currently employs is so low compared to the number of collectors, wholesalers, and stores they have to monitor, that even if someone IS MAC certified, it doesn't mean that the fish are, in fact, not cyanide caught, or other such "violations" of MAC. Rob's comparison was this: MAC has 4 inspectors to monitor over 4000 collectors. Rob agreed that it's a good idea, and that maybe in the future it will offer more protection the way it is intended, but at this point, trying to find a store that is MAC certified is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Rob went on to explain to me that if I were to buy only from stores that are MAC certified, then I may as well stop shopping, because around here... it's not found, its not advertised..... and its not likely to change anytime soon. MAC certified anything is rare right now, and while some people have found them, and its a good thing to promote, to exclude a store because they are not MAC certified, would mean giving up the hobby in most areas. The other point he made was that this covers marine fishes only... and most people shop for freshwater as much if not more than saltwater animals. Most pet stores focus heavier on freshwater animals, which is yet another reason why they find no need to be MAC certified. The stock level is too low to pay for the costs of being certified.
I learned a lot, thanks for bringing this to my attention.