Re: NANFA--Snakeheads and Pacu

Ty Hall (
Thu, 25 Sep 2003 15:23:16 -0500

I hear this every day, in the shop. "Oh, if they get to big, I'll just turn them
loose." I swear sometimes I just want to smack people. Instead I take a deep
calming breath and try to explain the moral and legal problems with their "plan".
To their credit most are not aware of the implications. But, that is the biggest
reason I refuse to carry the larger species of fish in the store. They are just
not suitable for the average home aquarist. As an extra measure I do have a policy
of taking/buying back any fish that outgrows the persons aquarium. I'd rather buy
them back and euthanize them, instead of having them wind up in the lake.


"Hoover, Jan J ERDC-EL-MS" wrote:

> Jan responds:
> <snip>

> ...and on a personal note....
> Tyler Strange (LA-NANFA member), Dena (my wife) and I were in a large pet
> outlet Sunday afternoon when a woman came in carrying two plastic tropical
> fish bags The kind used for guppies, gouramies, and mollies). Each
> contained a large (175-200 mm) pacu. She asked the clerk if the store would
> take them back so she would not have to let them go. The store said "no."
> We said "yes." I ran (literally) to the nearby discount store to buy a
> large cooler. Dena and Tyler stayed in the pet store, went to the equine
> department, pulled a horse-manure tub off the shelf, filled it with aquarium
> water, and put the fish in it. I came back (winded), transferred the fish
> to the cooler. That evening, we set them up at Waterways Experiment Station
> in a flume that is currently inhabited by some other South American fishes
> we have recently collected in the southern United States.
> The woman in the pet store had bought the pacu, along with two oscars, when
> they were small, and stocked a 55-gal tank with them. In a little over a
> year, they were too large for the aquarium and she did not know what to do
> with them. To her credit, she tried to find a home for them, but had
> someone not been there to take them, and explain why you cannot release
> exotic fish, they may have been prowling the Pearl River.
> Mississippi has the distinction of quite a few recent pacu records (5 from
> the Pascagoula River!). This is how they get there.
> Clearly, the message of not releasing exotic fishes is not getting through
> to the general public.
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