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Fishing in Texas: 6 Invasive Aquatic Species to Texas and Its Rules for Catching Them

By    |   Wednesday, 24 February 2016 09:36 PM

Fishing in Texas presents numerous opportunities for anglers to catch any number of fish species in numerous lakes, state parks, neighborhood fishing holes, and more.

However, there's a danger to the fishing industry in Texas: invasive aquatic species from other areas of the world that infiltrated Texas waters. With no natural predators in the local ecosystem, these invasive species are a danger to native wildlife.

Here are some of the invasive species that threaten fishing in Texas and how you can help.

1. Zebra Mussels

One of the most destructive invasive aquatic species in Texas are zebra mussels. These are a small species from southern Russia that ended up in North America by attaching themselves to the bottom of ships coming from the Black and Caspian Seas. Zebra mussels then spread around lakes by attaching themselves to boats.

The only way to stop the spread is by completely cleaning boats before moving them to other lakes. They have been located in Texoma, Belton, Waco, Lavon, Bridgeport, Lewisville, and Ray Roberts. Once a zebra mussel attaches itself to something, more follow and they can cause great damage to everything from boats to power plants.

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TexasInvasives.org offers tips on how to check for zebra mussels and clean any off your boat to prevent their spread.

2. Asian Carp

Grass carp originally arrived in the United States in 1963 and then escaped into the waters in Arkansas. The fish have since scattered in large numbers across the country. In Texas, they are known to reproduce in the Galveston Bay area.

This species poses a threat to native fish because they can eat up to 300 percent of their body weight per day. They also spread disease to other fish and destroy the ecosystem by expelling plant waste into the water, dissolving the oxygen.

Bighead carp has been spotted in the San Jacinto River and resevoirs around the state. The size of this invasive species gives it an advantage over native fish in competition for food sources.

A third Asian carp that TexasInvasives.org is tracking is the black carp, although there are currently no sightings that have been reported. However, this invasive species has been spotted in Lousiana.

3. Tiger Prawn

The tiger prawn is a species from the Pacific Ocean that actually showed up originally in Alabama in 2006. Soon, more showed up in Louisiana and then moved into Texas where they started to show up by the hundreds, many up to a foot long. They eat native shrimp and pose a danger to the ecosystem.

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4. Asian Clams

The Asian clam is small with a lightly colored shell. There are thoughts that it originally entered the country as food for Chinese immigrants. While their danger remains unknown, there is fear that they could spread disease to the native fish that eat them.

5. Armored Catfish

These catfish are native to South America, with a flat bony head, small eyes, and an underslung mouth. Their body has interlocking scales with a wide tail and colorful fins.

Juvenile versions are sold in pet stores to suck algae from tanks. They have been released by irresponsible owners into lakes and can grow as big as 21 pounds.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department told the Houston Chronicle it was the most destructive invasive fish in the state and a true danger for those who love fishing in Texas.

6. Lionfish

The lionfish is among the Texas PWD's most wanted list of invasive species. The reef-dwelling fish has been spotted throughout the Gulf of Mexico and tends to habitate around oil rigs.

In addition to being a dangerous predator to local aquatic life, the lionfish is armed with toxins that can cause painful stings to humans if they come into contact.

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Fishing in Texas presents opportunities for anglers to catch any number of fish. However, there's a danger to the fishing in Texas: invasive aquatic species that infiltrated Texas waters. With no natural predators in the local ecosystem, these invasive species are a danger to native wildlife.
fishing, texas, invasive species
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 09:36 PM
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