Saturday, July 4, 2020

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Moab, UT

79 F
Moab
More

    DWR biologists discover illegally introduced fish in southern Utah bodies of water

    Featured Stories

    At 99, Moab man is knighted by France

    “The French people will never forget his courage and devotion to the great cause of freedom,”

    Leaving Guatemala, Part 4: ‘A year in the land of eternal spring’

    Though I planned to return someday, whether as a Peace Corps volunteer or not, this experience proved that even the best-laid plans go awry.

    Leaving Guatemala, Part 3: Sudden departure came with painful goodbyes

    Men donned wooden masks and numerous layers of sweatshirts and ponchos then proceeded to hit each other with whips as they danced around the town square.

    Leaving Guatemala Part 2: There wasn’t enough time to say goodbye

    To say I woke up on the Monday morning of the evacuation...

    Ignoring own standards and experts, Utah commission pushes reopening

    The COVID-19 model from the CDC predicts an increase in deaths from the coronavirus from Utah in the coming weeks, and key indicators predict more hospitalizations are to come.
    Submitted
    Submitted
    Public submissions to The Times-Independent can range from press releases to obituaries to feature stories and news. All submissions are subject to editorial review and approval.

    During their annual spring surveys, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists discovered something they hate to see in two more bodies of water — Panquitch Lake and Jackson Flat Reservoir — which had fish illegally dumped into them.

    Fish biologists check contents of net.
    Biologists check the contents of a net after pulling it from water to inspect the health of fish. Photo courtesy of DWR

      In an effort to survey how fish populations are doing in various bodies of water, DWR biologists place nets across the state. They leave the nets in the water for a set amount of time; sometimes overnight, and then pull them in to examine the catch. They then count, weigh, measure and assess the condition of the fish caught in the nets. The biologists gain valuable data from these surveys as they learn how each species is doing. 

      However, when a different species is dumped into a body of water by someone wanting to get rid of an aquatic pet or by an angler wanting to introduce their favorite species into a lake or reservoir, it can wreak havoc on the ecosystem of that fishery. It is also illegal in Utah.

      “Any illegal introduction of a fish into a waterbody is harmful and can have numerous negative consequences,” DWR Sportfish Coordinator Randy Oplinger said. “Illegal fish species can prey on and outcompete other fish species, including sportfish, native fish and endangered fish species. They can also introduce disease and negatively impact water quality. It is very expensive and takes a long time — often requiring rotenone treatments that kill all the fish — to restore these waterbodies after fish have been illegally introduced there.”

      Biologists discovered Utah chubs in Panguitch Lake and found goldfish in Jackson Flat Reservoir during their spring surveys. They aren’t quite sure when either species was illegally introduced. 

      “Panguitch Lake had to undergo treatments in 2005 in order to kill and remove Utah chubs, so it is really frustrating that someone illegally placed them into the lake again,” DWR Southern Region Aquatics Manager Richard Hepworth said. “We believe they may have been introduced because an angler was using live chubs as bait, which is illegal. Utah chubs compete with trout and can ruin a fishery, as we’ve seen in the past. Right now, we are hopeful that we have the right predator fish in place to keep the chubs from increasing to the point where they take over and we are required to treat the lake again.”

      With the goldfish at Jackson Flat, biologists believe it was likely a case of someone reluctant to kill their unwanted pet. However, goldfish can be especially detrimental in an ecosystem because they are prolific spawners and can rapidly take over a body of water. 

      “They compete with the other species and eat all the available food,” Hepworth said. “It is also frustrating for anglers who are trying to catch the other species because they end up just catching goldfish. We hope the largemouth bass in the lake can keep the goldfish numbers under control. We will try and stock some additional largemouth bass this year to help with that effort.” 

      As mentioned, it is illegal to take live fish from one body of water and move them into another water. It is also illegal to dump aquarium fish and other unwanted aquatic pets into a lake, reservoir or river in Utah. Illegal fish introductions seldom improve fisheries — instead, illegal introductions typically ruin fisheries and threaten the species that live there. 

      Anglers are encouraged to report any invasive fish species, or if they see anyone illegally introducing fish into a body of water, by calling 1-800-662-3337. Learn more about the consequences of illegal fish introductions by visiting the “Don’t Ditch a Fish” page on the DWR website. 

    Share this!

    - Advertisement -

    Latest News

    GOP’s Cox, Reyes move on to General Election

    If the figures hold, Cox will face off against University of Utah law professor Christopher Peterson, a Democrat, and Libertarian Daniel Cottam, a surgeon, in November’s general election.

    Man pleads guilty to double manslaughter

    He faces up to 15 years apiece for the deaths of Vilsar Camey, 45, and Camey’s 10-year-old son, Israel on Feb. 9.

    Eklecticafe was cramped but quaint. Then the virus hit

    “It’s so sad to say that, even though there’s a relief for me, but the COVID thing… I just couldn’t sustainably reopen."

    500K facemasks headed to Utah students, teachers

    The state procured the masks from H.M. Cole and Totopazi and will be distributed to school districts in the “greatest need."

    After three years and a tripled budget, Seekhaven has new director

    My main goal is to stabilize our current programming and fortify our working relationships with the first responders in our community.