Rethink Releasing Aquarium Fish in Texas Waters

This is Passport to Texas

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

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

You may think releasing your pet fish into Texas waters, when you can no longer care for it, is humane. Yet these exotic aquarium species disrupt natural ecosystems and out-compete native fish for resources.

Priscilla Weeks is a senior research scientist at the Houston Advanced Research Center. Her team is using a TPWD grant to research why people release their fish into Texas waters.

14—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.

Weeks says research shows whether a person gets rid of their fish depends on personal preference.

17—What we’re finding so far, but this is very preliminary, 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.

…but if you don’t like big fish, you could have a problem. So what do you do?

Weeks says some people think releasing a fish is the only option, but, among the alternatives would be to euthanize the animal, and the less drastic—taking it back to the pet store.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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