Releasing Aquarium Fish Not Humane

Aquarium in TV. Image: Furnish Burnish

This is Passport to Texas

How far would you travel to ensure the future of your favorite exotic aquarium fish?

We had some folks telling us that they would go as far as 50 miles to find an appropriate body of water.

Releasing pet fish into Texas waters when you no longer want them, is not a humane act. Exotic aquaria species disrupt natural ecosystems.

When we spoke, Priscilla Weeks was a research scientist at the Houston Advanced Research Center. At the time, her team used a TPWD grant to research why people release their fish into Texas waters.

I think there might be a stereotype where folks think that it is easy, emotionally, just to release a fish. But actually what we’re finding is folks are very attached to their pets.

According to research, whether a person gives up their fish depends on personal preference like its behavior or physical attributes.

And what we’re finding is that different individuals prefer different attributes of a fish. So, it’s not necessarily that it grows too big in my tank, because I may like a big fish.

If those attributes change, sometimes so does the owners’ interest in the animal.

Releasing a fish is not the only option when you no longer want it. Weeks says you can euthanize it, but less drastic is taking it back to the pet store.

The Sport fish restoration program supports our series.

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

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