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Re: More answers on the Exotic Removal Program
I want to say thanks for asking the tough ?'s in such a constructive
manner......Heres my best attempt to answer your ?'s . It will of course
not be a perfect answer but I hope it gives you some idea where I see
things from. Like I have said often to throw out the good in the search
for the perfect is wrong. The ERP program is good but not perfect :)
Q>1. How many individual exotic fish are there in the canals?
A> According to USGS folks (aka Jim Williams PHD Personal communication)
there are probably millions of exotics in South Florida. They exsist in
the Everglades, Canals <ponds and Most every riverway in South Florida
Q>2. How many exotic fish have been removed so far? The messages seem
to indicate no more than a few dozen.
A> The Way the ERP program is set up ALL fish collected are either Sold
at Auction or Killed so the impact could be substantial quickly several
hundred per day with little work.
Q> >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.
A> Who knows 100 ---1000----100000 no idea yet it is a developing market.
However the number sold does not equall the number removed (see above
Q>>4. How quickly do the target species reproduce? The slower they
>reproduce, the more effective their removal will be.
A> From most accounts the reproduce on rate par with indigenous sunfishes
and the like so no big advantage for the invaders there...
Q> >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.
A> With the lack of good research its hard to say concretly if any one
native species or another is impacted more severly than another. In the
everglades the smaller fishes have been tore up by the Mayan Cichlids and
Oscars . Its a mess .
Q>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).
A>the Cichlids and co. are in most waterways in South Florida ...they are
just easist to collect and are most prolific in the canals ! So the
problem is more entreched than most people realize.
Q >Maybe I am looking at this wrong, but it seems to me that in a
situation where an introduced species is spreading prolifically (and do
we even know that they are doing that? Another question!), removing a
tiny proportion of the individuals will do nothing at all to stem the
expansion of the population. That genie is hard to put back in it's
A> It's immpossible to put the genie back in the bottle ! That really is
not the intention of the ERP. In some cases we will have local victories
but this program will not exterminate exotics from our country. What this
program does is 2 fold first is public education Aquarist and the
general public are surprised to hear we destroy all exotics caught. This
leads to questions and to oppourtunities to educate folks about the
dangers of releasing exotic species into new enviroments. Second we at
the NFC earn $ to do more worthwhile conservation projects.
>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 thanks. But as the organization grows, we are going to get more
and more media attention. I humbly suggest that we be careful about
claiming that the Exotics Removal Program is doing anything about
>numbers of exotics in the wild unless we can prove that that is the
I dont think anyone has claimed this program will control exotics. It has
claimed to REMOVE EXOTICs wich it does. I'd love to have 400-500 folks in
south Florida doing this program then we might be talking real impact
Thanks for your input
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