Re: NANFA-L-- Old story, new twist? Old twist new story. Please
Fri, 19 May 2006 11:37:47 EDT

Ok, what I was trying to bring to everyone's attention again is the fact
that we seem to be willing to skirt disaster by allowing things like big headed
carp, peacock bass, and other fish that obviously have the potential to cause
problems much like allowing African lions and elephants to roam across the
mid west (I am glad that was seen as a very bad idea); but we seem to have a
real problem even looking-in-the possibility of introducing a fish that would
almost certainly be harmless. Yet we bring fish from one watershed to
another like introducing flathead catfish or some aggressive sort of trout or large
mouth bass outside their range without even much of a thought. The list of
potential disasters goes on and on. Why is it so difficult to even look
seriously into the possibility of introducing a fish with much less harmful
potential? Are anglers more important than conserving the fish population of a water
shed? I am sorry I brought up the colonizing the galaxy thing. It was way
off topic even though introducing new animals is what humans seem to do best. I
have several friends who don't know much about introducing fish but even they
can see the danger of introducing flathead catfish beyond their range. Here
in the Cape Fear River, flathead catfish have had a very bad impact on the
population of bullhead catfish, Centrarchidae (sunfish) and other native fish.
Even when such introductions were by accident as in big headed carp it
shouldn't have taken much to suspect the big headed carp were going to be a
problem. But to suggest a small benign sturgeon, one of which only gets to be 12"
long maximum, should be looked into is treated like a piranha adapted to cold
water should be introduced. It's even possible we might even learn something
that could help us next time an exotic is suggested for introduction. Fish
like the big headed carp seem to get a free pass even though the potential for
problems was quite high. I am amazed that somehow we missed out on getting
the Wels catfish. Not to many years ago fish like the Wels seemed like a shoo
in but somehow reason prevailed and we missed out on a catfish that grows to
be 12' long! I can hardly imagine the nightmare that would have been
unleashed. Maybe some people just have a problem with saving a fish that is losing
it's habitat. One thing is for sure we seem to have a talent for acquiring
exotics we don't need and are most likely to be a danger to our own fish. Even
though many of the exotics we have are acquired through accident many are
intentionally introduced to control some problem or other or through accidental
aquaculture release. At the very least we should be developing some sort of
rating system to bring the potential for problems to the attention of the people
making these decisions.

Michael Hissom
Captive Environments, aquaculture
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