Invasive Fish Roundup Set April 26-28
Aquarium Dumping Contributes to Problem
Last updated 4/23/2019 at 7:30pm
If you like to fish and are willing to drive a couple of hours, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Southwest Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) have a list of invasive fish they would like you to catch.
The two groups are hosting the 2019 Invasive Fish Roundup event April 26-28, with a weigh-in to occur from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 28 at Bass Pro Shops, 10040 Gulf Center Drive, Fort Myers.
The roundup is a three-day event that is open to teams of one to four anglers, fishing from shore or boat in the Southwest Florida CISMA area (Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties). Prizes will be awarded to the top team in various categories.
The goal of this event is to encourage the public to target invasive species while fishing and to promote awareness of the potential negative impacts of releasing invasive species into Florida's waterways.
The event also is an opportunity for Southwest Florida CISMA and the FWC to gather information about invasive fish distribution and abundance, both of which may help with future management of invasive fish species.
Several of the invaders are popular aquarium fish such as guppies, pacus, clown knifefish, climbing gouramis, swordtails, platyfish and tetras. Rather than dumping them into the wild, FWC encourages fish owners to surrender unwanted pets to them. Other invasive freshwater fish include four types of catfish, snakeheads, knifefish, loaches and two types of eels.
"The FWC and our partners encourage the removal and consumptive use of captured nonnative freshwater fish," said Sarah Funck, FWC Nonnative Fish and Wildlife Program coordinator. "Removing these invasive species from our waters can benefit native natural resources."
This event is free but pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, visit http://www.FloridaInvasives.org/Southwest/.
In addition to special event opportunities such as this one, the FWC encourages the public to report nonnative species sightings utilizing the "IveGot1" app for Apple or Android or online at IveGot1.org.
The FWC also provides opportunities throughout the year for the public to surrender unwanted nonnative pets to be placed with pre-approved adopters without penalty at a one-day-only Exotic Pet Amnesty Day or year-round by calling the FWC's Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681).
For more information about freshwater invasive fish species in Florida, visit https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/ and click on "Freshwater Fish."