This week USGS scientists are in three Florida counties, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, leading experts in the semi-annual Fish Slam, a scientific scavenger hunt for non-native freshwater fishes. Biologists and natural resource managers from USGS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and several universities and museums are working in teams to sample freshwater bodies using nets, traps, seines, hook and line, and electrofishing (which temporarily stun the fish so they are easier to catch). The two-day Fish Slam event helps monitor new non-natives and documents the possible expansion of known non-native fish species.
All non-native fishes collected during Fish Slams are recorded in the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database, and select specimens are preserved and sent to the Florida Museum, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Florida Atlantic University and other museums and academic institutes, where scientists use them for research purposes. Learn more about Fish Slam: http://ow.ly/c9wF50x5emH
Editor’s Note: As always, stories like this serve as a constant reminder to never, ever, release unwanted fish, plants or pets into the wild. Talk to your local fish stores and aquarium clubs as most are quite willing to help rehome unwanted fish.