Michigan DNR: Stop Tossing Your Pet Fish In The Great Lakes! Thank You
Apparently a lot of people think it's okay to dump their pet fish into the Great Lakes, which is not good for the fish who are already in there, so knock it off!
From thousands of gold fish to exotic carp, the Great Lakes are becoming home to invasive and non-invasive species of fish. Many of which are tossed in there by unsuspecting residents looking for a humane end to the pet fish they can no longer care for.
The result? Weird fish being caught that have no business being in the Great Lakes.
One commercial fisherman reported to the Detroit News that he recently reeled in a South American red tail catfish which can grow to five-feet in the Amazon River. Although they rarely survive the winter in Michigan, to the Michigan City News Dispatch reported in 2013 that one was caught that had grown to two feet in length.
So what should a consumer do if it can no longer provide for aquarium fish? The better option would be to take it back to the fish store. If they can't take it back, the store may be able to find some place that would.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has received reports of what it calls "unique species" in the state's waterways. Pacu and Plecostomus have been found, and even if they don't last a season, they could bring disease to the Lakes native and stocked fish. One fisherman reported catching a Russian sturgeon.
Of special concern for the DNR, is the prospect of Asian carp gaining in numbers in the Great Lakes, as they are sold live in some cities as a food in Asian markets, and are then dumped into local waterways. According to the DNR, they threaten local fish populations.
One Grand Rapids commenter to the Detroit News article, mentioned the plethora of gold fish she has seen in lakes in the area. Goldfish, which may seem innocuous have been known to grow up to ten inches in local waters.
The state DNR has issued warnings for owners not to release pet fish back into the wild.