Archive for the 'Tilapia' Category

Flooding and Aquatic Invasive Species

Thursday, August 20th, 2015
Zebra Mussels

Zebra Mussels

This is Passport to Texas

Texas lakes and rivers are full and flowing again thanks to an influx of water brought on by heavy spring rains. The downside is we could see the spread of invasive species as a result.

06- We always have to be vigilant about invasive species: zebra mussels…giant salvinia…water hyacinths…

Inland fisheries’ Dave Terre says improved water levels and boat ramp accessibility means more boaters on the water. He adds everyone must do what is in their control to prevent the spread of these species.

09- Make sure that you clean your boats and trailers; and dry your boats–and drain your boats–before going onto other water bodies. It’s the law.

Cleaning, draining and drying boats–that’s within our control. Mother Nature is not. When she soaked Texas, it’s possible she also flushed zebra mussels downstream.

25- Certainly, we’ll be monitoring that situation through time, but at this point it’s really unknown what impact these floods will have on the spread of zebra mussels across our state. But, anglers and boaters still need to be mindful about spreading these species by boat. [Clean, drain & dry] is the one thing we do have control over, and one thing that we can do. We’re always concerned about invasive species trying to keep them out of our water bodies. So we need to control what we can control.

Find information about invasive species at

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Invasive Tilapia: Defeating by Eating

Thursday, July 30th, 2015
Blue Tilapia

Blue Tilapia

This is Passport to Texas

When you hear the word tilapia, you may think of a savory meal with lemon and butter sauce, but you probably don’t think of the term “invasive species.”

11—The tilapia are great to eat. They’re raised as a food fish, and they’re quite tasty. They’re quite popular in restaurants. But the problem is when they’re in our natural waters they are upsetting the ecosystem.

Tilapia, found in Texas for decades, originally came here as a food source, and raised in fish farms. Eventually the fish ended up living wild in Texas waters.

What makes them invasive? Gary Garrett, former inland fisheries biologist with TPW, said tilapia pose a potential threat to largemouth bass and other native species.

16—They build big pit nests and in doing that they stir up a lot of the settlement. And it’s been shown, for example, with large mouth bass, all that sediment stirred up and settling back down will often kill largemouth bass eggs.

When the tilapia does this, they can potentially damage the entire ecosystem because of the intricate nature of the food chain.

Parks and Wildlife has state regulations for tilapia, but because they exist throughout Texas, they are difficult to control. But if you like to fish, Garrett says there is a way you can help.

03—Don’t throw them back. If you catch them, keep them.

Next time you catch a tilapia, turn on the grill and get cooking. You’ll be doing yourself and the Texas ecosystem a flavor.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Aquatic Invasives

Monday, May 11th, 2015
Giant Salvinia overtaking Lake Conroe

Giant Salvinia overtaking Lake Conroe

This is Passport to Texas

Giant Salvinia…tilapia…zebra mussels… are just three of the many non-native, invasive aquatic species threatening Texas rivers and lakes.

11-As a whole, anytime you get an invasive species into the state–whether it be a new one or one we are currently dealing with–they certainly cause a lot of economic as well as environmental negative impact.

Brian Van Zee is a TPW Inland Fisheries Regional Director.

15- When an invasive species gets introduced into a new system, they typically have very few predators or natural control mechanisms in place. So, they are able to take over and dominate those systems; that just creates a lot of problems for a lot of our native species.

Giant salvinia quickly creates huge, thick mats of vegetation on lakes, reducing light penetration that results in oxygen depletion; tilapia outcompete native fishes for food, thus threatening their populations; and zebra mussels adhere to municipal water intake pipes,
blocking water flow, and costing cities millions of dollars in repairs and maintenance.

05-We have seven lakes in the state that have confirmed zebra mussels in them.

Brian Van Zee returns tomorrow to talk about the latest zebra mussel infestation and how it happened. Learn more about aquatic invasives at

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and works to increase fishing and boating opportunities in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.