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Re: More questions on the Exotic Removal Program
South Florida, over the past half century or so, has become a repostitory
for naturalized exotic species, from trees and shrubs to birds, reptiles, fish
and even primates. The most immediatly obvious are the trees and plants who's
tannins are so toxic that nothing, save a stray fern will grow beneath thier
green. And flocks of brightly colored parrots are now taking a bite out of the
citrus industry. But this is a "fish" list, so lets talk fish.
Twentyfive years ago, when as a kid I would go fishing, the most predominant
fish in the water were bream. And there was no small amount of them. Now when
I visit waters edge, the main fish I see are cichlids, of varying species. The
bream, though still there, represented only by an occasional siting.
It has been established that the aquatic biosystem is delicate and any
introduction of a non-indigenous species has an immediate impact on the native
populations. Introduced species do not simply live side by side with the
native population, but create a struggle for food and space. One must win and
judging from the success of the exotics, it's not our natives carrying victory
Are we making a dent in the problem we created by fishing them out and using
them to fund further conservation efforts or by educating the public at large?
Time will tell, but doing nothing is not an option.
>1. How many individual exotic fish are there in the canals?
One too many, honestly I have no idea, care to come down and count? : )
>2. How many exotic fish have been removed so far? The messages seem to
indicate no more than a few dozen.
As a reminder, we are only a few weeks old. I am currently working on forms to
be distributed among the ERP volunteers to begin recording this and other
info. Ask this ? again in a year and be astounded.
>3. What is the total annual demand for the species of exotics that live in
the canals? This would be the theoretical maximum number of fish that could
be removed each year for aquarium use.
Again, ask in a year.
>4. How quickly do the target species reproduce? The slower they reproduce,
the more effective their removal will be.
Thier sheer numbers imply a better survival rate of thier young
over that of our natives.
>5. What native species is being impacted by the introduced exotic? This
question would seem to have ethical connotations, since it might be judged
more vital to control an introduced species that was outcompeting a native
species than it would be to control an introduced species that found an
unoccupied ecological niche.
The entire biosystem is impacted as thier numbers continue to increase.
I have taken very small (3/4") specimens of plecos out and thier
impact on the natives is probably negligable, but there is a market for them.
>6. What species lived in the area before human intervention? I believe that
the canals were man made, to feed the water demands of Miami. Some people
might see the introduction of exotics into a totally artificial habitat as
little different than stocking a man made reservoir (admitedly, the risk of
spread of the exotic species into adjoining natural waterways must be
considered, in either case).
Answered your own ? here. : )
>I truely mean no disrespect for the hard working people who operate the
Exotics Removal Program. You guys are doing a great job, with way too little
No offence taken friend and thankyou.
>I humbly suggest that we be careful about claiming that
the Exotics Removal Program is doing anything about controlling the numbers
of exotics in the wild unless we can prove that that is the case.
Removing one mating pair is victory for our natives.
As ERP volunteer membership grows, our impact will become more evident. Though
good questions, they may be premature to ask of an program so young.
Thanks and Remember..........................
..........You Don't need Eyes to See, You Need Vision...........
Keep the Vision
Save a Native, Eat an Oscar
Exotic Removal Program Administrator
BTW, we now have a page on the NFC website with recipes for exotics. It's
under construction, so more to come. : )