AIS: Exploring the Primary Threat to Our Fish
By ZZ Troutski
This day and age holds a great many aquatic invasive species. In the forms of both weeds and fish, species are being moved around so fast – intentionally – that some true damage is being done to native species and habitats.
Take Arizona for example; there are more introduced non-native fish species than native ones now, and introduced species have caused widespread loss of fish populations across the country.
By introducing brook trout, native greenback cutthroat trout once located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains were nearly destroyed. Then, the brook trout was displaced by brown and rainbow trout. In Yellowstone Lake, it was the introduction of the lake trout that combined with Whirling Disease to cause a nearly 90% decline in the lake’s Yellowstone cutthroat trout population.
When thinking about losing or destroying habitats completely, aquatic invasive species are one of the most brutal forces to face. In fact, whether it be intentional or non-intentional, the introduction of aquatic invasive species is now the primary threat facing our fish supply.
There are many intentional introductions made that should never occur, including adding a non-native species to a pond in your own backyard in order to get variety. But aquatic invasive species also make their way into lakes and streams by other means. Some species are released unintentionally or escape from aquaculture facilities. Some stow away in ship ballast water only to be released thousands of miles away from their native habitat.
Exotic diseases and parasites come along with this constant movement. A great many times, Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia and Whirling Disease actually arrive hand-in-hand with the introduced fish and spread to all native species. (i.e.; the Yellowstone mistake).
Anglers care; they do their part in lowering the risk, and try their best to halt the aquatic invasive species from expanding. They even have a ‘Clean Angling Pledge’ that many sign, promising to make sure that all the rules are followed when it comes to cleanliness and health.
For those who are unaware, always remember to carefully clean and dry all equipment after use to avoid contaminating clean waters. Making sure to not use felt-soled waders and boots is also a necessity. Trout anglers often face a hard challenge when it comes to wading conditions. So to ensure wading safety, metal studs can be extremely helpful in increasing grip while wading in water – staying away from the felt-soled waders. If the river is extremely challenging, a wading staff can be extra added help.
Battling these aquatic invasive species (AIS) is an all-out war to some. The angler’s mission of conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s lakes, streams, oceans, etc., is a mission we can all help with.
Find out. Do research. Make sure that favorite ‘watering hole’ remains healthy for generations to come.
Source: Sportsmans Life / Baret News Wire