Angler's Monitoring Network
Help Find and Report New Invasive Fish
INVASIVE SPECIES: A PROBLEM OF HISTORIC PROPORTIONS
Michigan waters have been inveded by non-native aquatic plants and animals such as the zebra mussel, round goby, sea lamprey, Eurasian ruffe, Eurasian watermilfoil, rusty crayfish, and spiny waterflea. These species and others are harmful to recreational fishing and do extensive economic and natural resource damage.
THE ANGLER MONITORING NETWORK IN MICHIGAN
The Angler's Monitoring Network for detecting new introductions of non-native fish species in Michigan has been established. The network acts as an additional 1.3 million sets of eyes (number of licenced anglers in Michigan) to monitor for new invasions. The network is an informal system of information, education and reporting that provides a way for all anglers in the state to report on any new introduction of non-native fish to Michigan waters.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Anglers should learn to identify non-native fish and plants they may encounter and take precautions to prevent their spread. These actions include:
Removing all visisble aquatic plants and animals from your boat, motor, trailer and accessory equipment before leaving the access area. Dispose of live bait and aquatic animals in the trash. Do not release live bait into the water.
Drain live wells and all water from boats before leaving the access area.
Power washing boats and trailers wherever possible or drying all equipment thoroughly.
Allowing boat to dry for at least 10 days before launching into a different water body.
Please report any unusual fish you cannot identify to the nearest DNR Operation Service Center listed in the link below.
Basic identification information is provided here for some common aquatic invasive species already here and some species not yet known to be in Michigan.
Current Species Information:
Fishhook Water Flea Cercopagis pengoi
The fishhook water flea, reported in Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario, is known by its long tail spine (up to ½ inch) and by the kink near the end of this tail. Cercopagis originates from the Caspian, Black, Azov, and Aral Seas. Ocean-going freighters most likely carried this invader in their ballast water to Lake Ontario. Cercopagis is expected to further upset the current food chain in Lake Michigan. Like the well-known spiny water flea, Cercopagis is a predator on smaller zooplankton. Small fish who feed on zooplankton are discouraged from eating Cercopagis because of its long, spiked tail spine.
Round Goby Neogobius melanostromus
First collected in the Great Lakes in 1990, the round goby is native to Eastern Europe. The goby is a bottom-dwelling fish that aggressively defends its spawning sites located in rock and gravel habitats. It can compete for habitat with native species such as mottled sculpin, log perch, and darters. Possessing a well-developed sensory system, the round goby is able to feed in total darkness. The goby can be accidentally transported in live wells, bilge water, bait buckets, and the ballast water of Great Lakes vessels.
Ruffe Gymnocephalus cernuus
The ruffe (pronounced "rough") is a small and aggressive fish that is native to Eurasia. It was first introduced into Lake Superior in the 1980s, probably through the ballast water of ocean-going vessels. The ruffe has a rapid reproductive rate, with females producing up to 200,000 eggs in one season. The ruffe can thrive under a wide range of temperatures and habitats. Although the effects of the ruffe on the Great Lakes are unknown, it may compete with native fish for food and may prey on the eggs of other fish, such as lake trout. It can be transported by humans through boats, live wells, and bait.
Rusty Crayfish Orconectes rusticus
Rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) are native to streams in the Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee regions. Spread by anglers who use them as bait, rusty crayfish are prolific and can severely reduce lake and stream vegetation, depriving native fish and their prey of cover and food. They also reduce native crayfish populations.
Sea Lamprey Petromyzon marinus
The sea lamprey arrived in the Great Lakes via the canals and St. Lawrence Seaway over 50 years ago, making its way around Niagara Falls that at one time protected the Great Lakes from many east coast species. Sea lampreys are found in all the Great Lakes and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and state and provincial agencies under the guidance of the Great Lake Fishery Commission. They do millions of dollars of damage to Great Lakes fisheries each year and are one of the most notorious aquatic invasive species in North America. There is no need to report sea lamprey or fish with sea lamprey wounds.
Spiny Water Flea Bythotrephes cederstreomi
Originally limited to lakes in Eastern and Western Europe and China, the spiny-tailed Bythotrephes is a crustacean that invaded North America in the 1980s and is now established in all the Great Lakes. Bythotrephes is a small, shrimp-like zooplankton that grows to an average of 10 millimeters (0.4 inch) in length and feeds on other small aquatic animals. It has powerful limbs for swimming and grasping food items, and a large pigmented eye for seeing light and images in the water. When Bythotrephes captures a food item, it inserts its mouthparts into its victim and, much like a vampire bat, sucks out all the fluids.
White Perch Morone americana
White perch are found in both the Great Lakes and inland lakes in Michigan. They came into the Great Lakes over 50 years ago and spread to all the lakes by 1988. White perch are native to the eastern U.S.
Zebra Mussel Dreissena polymorpha
The zebra mussel is native to the Caspian Sea region of Asia. First collected in 1986 in Lake St. Clair, it has spread rapidly throughout the Midwest and now threatens most watersheds in the United States. Colonizing at high densities, the zebra mussel outcompetes native organisms and clogs water-intake systems of power plants. Costs associated with controlling this mussel have exceeded $5 billion annually. Microscopic larvae may be carried in live wells or bilge water, and adults may spread by attaching to boating equipment that has been in infested water; larvae may also drift downstream through connecting channels.
Potential Species Information:
Actually 4 species of carp; bighead, silver, black, and grass. All 4 are threatening to arrive in Michigan. These huge fish eat tremendous amounts of food that native fish need, some can jump high enough to hit people in boats, and all can foul fishing nets and coastal waters. Anglers need to keep watch for unusual carp that appear to have their eyes looking down. They could be found either in inland lakes or in the Great Lakes. All have been accidentally or purposely introduced in other states and must be kept out of Michigan. If you believe you have seen or caught an Asian carp, or you have found one in your bait bucket, the DNRE wants to hear from you. DO NOT release it! Go to www.michigan.gov/asiancarpto fill out an online Asian carp reporting form or call us at 517-373-1280. We'll want to know the details, such as where you caught it and when.
Hydrilla Hydrilla verticillata
Not yet found in Michigan waters, this aquatic plant has clogged waterways in many southern states. If it takes hold, hydrilla can quickly form thick mats near the water's surface, suffocate native plants below, degrade water quality and impede recreation, creating severe economic impacts. Hydrilla Hunt cards provide instructions on how to identify hydrilla, collect a plant sample using a sharp knife or scissors, and where to send the sample for verification. The cards also request contact information and basic information about the location. The card can be found at: http://www.miseagrant.org/pdf/Hydrillacard.pdf
Killer Shrimp Dikerogammarus villosus
Killer shrimp are not yet found in the Great Lakes, but may make their way here in ships' ballast water from their native range in Europe. These large shrimp are over an inch long and have voracious appetites. They often kill much more than they eat and could severely damage the food web of the Great Lakes. They are unlikely to be detected if they arrive, so prevention is the best management tool. Wash and drain all water from equipment and be especially careful with bait buckets. If you find an unidentified small shrimp in the Great Lakes, freeze it and take it to a DNR Operations Service Center.
New Zeeland Mud Snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum
The mud snail is very small, only about the size of a fingernail. However, it is very prolific and thousands can be found within a few square feet of lake bottom. The effects of mud snails are similar to those of zebra mussels: crowding out native snails, providing little in the way of food for native fish, and growing to huge populations due to lack of predator or disease controls. These are primarily found out west, but may be coming to Michigan in recreational fishing and boating equipment. Inspect your equipment carefully and remove any plants or animals. Place them in the trash.
Northern Snakehead Channa sp .
There are 28 species of snakehead native to China. Many are threatening to arrive in Michigan via the aquarium trade or as food fish. These voracious fish eat large amounts of food that Michigan fish need and eat our native fish too. Some species can survive a short wiggle on land between ponds. Anglers need to keep watch for fish that look somewhat similar to bowfin, but often with brighter markings. They could be found either in inland lakes or in the Great Lakes. None have been found in Michigan or surrounding states yet, but we must be vigilant to keep them out. If you find an unidentified snakehead in the Great Lakes, freeze it and take it to a DNR Operations Service Center.
U.S. Fish an Wildlife Service - Current List of Injurious Wildlife Species Found
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Invasive Species
Transgenic and Nonnative Organisms
FO - 209.03