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Invasive Fish Collection Program

A tiger muskie. One of the invasive fish that can be found in the Columbia River Basin.

A tiger muskie. One of the invasive fish that can be found in the Columbia River Basin.

This fishing season, CRITFC’s Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator Blaine Parker will pay fishers for invasive/undocumented fish species caught by Indian fishers in Zone 6. Examples of such fish would be grass carp, Atlantic salmon, northern pike, tiger muskies, and other non-established fish species. Such fish are likely escapees from private ponds and lakes (grass carp or tiger muskie) or strays from commercial aquaculture (Atlantic salmon), or even aquarium releases.

In 2012, CRITFC received three credible reports (clear photographs or fish in hand) of large adult grass carp from Zone 6. This first fish caught in Bonneville Pool, Parker was able to contact the fisher directly and purchased the fish for scientific examination. The fish was found to be an adult female with fully developed eggs—a serious concern given that all grass carp imported into Washington or Oregon are required to be sterile. The other two fish identified by photographs were caught in John Day Pool.

Given the importance of collecting physical evidence for analysis, Parker began a program that pays fishers for these invasive fish species. If at all possible it is important that are kept fresh on ice and not frozen. This is important as freezing can damage soft tissue, particularly the gonads.

For a list of the major invasive species found in the Columbia River Basin, including photos and descriptions, visit www.critfc.org/invasive

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