Don’t Free Willy in Texas Waters

This is Passport to Texas

04 He’s gonna get out of here. He’s going to get flushed. What a smart little guy!

We love the Finding Nemo scenario; the aquarium trapped fish released back into the wild. The problem is most fish in Texas aquariums aren’t from Texas.

Luci Cook-Hildreth is a Parks and Wildlife projects coordinator in Inland Fisheries.

18–Even really really smart people sometimes don’t understand that a fish is not just a fish and water is not just water. They go, “I have a creek in my backyard, and I have a fish that’s too big for my tank. Well, why don’t I just set him free?” And they don’t understand that there’s a lot of biological and ecological ramifications to that decision.

Many of these non-natives end up thriving in Texas waters and out-competing native fish populations.

Cook-Hildreth says controlling what fish people own is practically impossible because of the Internet. Despite state laws, there seems to be a constant supply and demand for illegal species. And these fish can sometimes be expensive.

16–Folks that are interested in selling illegal fish have the potential to make thousands of dollars on these fish. And we can slap a fine on them, for 200 or 300 dollars, and it’s really just the cost of doing business for these folks.

So remember, by releasing your fish into the wild, you might just be endangering a lot more.

That’s our show…with support from the Sport Fish restoration program…funding sport fisheries research in Texas.

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

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