great lakes exotics and our ecosystem

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Representing the national sport fishing community on Congressionally mandated federal Ruffe Control Committee and Great Lakes Panel on Exotics, the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council recognizes the seriousness of incidentally introduced foreign species(exotics) into our ecosystem. The Council has assembled a series of informational links to help anglers learn more about the invasion of these unwanted exotics.

Round Goby
photo courtesy IL DNR GOBY
Round goby
These small Round gobies probably will be able to invade many regions of the Great Lakes.
photo courtesy GLNPO Sea Lamprey
One of the most predatory of fish, the Sea lamprey has caused major destruction.

spiny flea

photo courtesy SeaGrant

Spiny Water Flea
Bythotrephes (bith-o-THEH-freez) may adversely affect our ecosytem, owning to competition for food. more abundance = less food for juvenile fish.
Zebra Mussel
photo courtesy SeaGrant
Zebra Mussel
introduced into the Great Lakes in 1985 /1986, by transoceanic ship discharge of ballast water , have cost millions in damage.
photo courtesy GLNPO RUFFE
Eurasian ruffe may pose a serious ecological threat to water environments and to the future of sport and commercial fishing.

photo courtesy GLNPO

Purple Loosestrife
is prolific, it can overtake wetland areas, replacing valuable native plants.
Resources to Great Lakes Exotics

Laws and Policies - | - Newsletters - | - Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance SpeciesIllinois Natural History Survey | Northeast-Midwest Institute: Biological Pollution Spreads. - |- MN Sea Grant "Field Guide to Exotics" - |- Aquatic Nuisance Species Nat'l Task Force - ׀ Ruffe Control Committee meeting minutes (1995-2000) - ׀ - Ruffe Control Program - ׀ - Ruffe Surveillance in the Great Lakes, 1998 ׀ Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species

Nonindigenous Species Reporting Form Many of the Great Lakes States have different possession laws pertaining to exotics species , it is important that you report all new sightings.

The AQUATIC NUISANCE PREVENTION AND CONTROL ACT was passed in 1990, and mandates ballast water exchange of all salt water vessels entering the St. Lawrence Seaway. In 1996, the National Invasive Species Act of 1996 was passed , and is the U.S. federal bill to reauthorize and expand the 1990 federal nonindigenous species legislation. A key element of the legislation is that it provides for ballast water management to prevent the introduction and further spread of nonindigenous species in U.S. waters. Even so, accidental introduction of exotics is now the most serious threat to the health of our natural resources in the Great Lakes region.

Thinking about releasing an aquarium fish? THINK AGAIN! these exotics can have just as much impact , and could potentially wipe out a whole species of fish.

More information
about Exotics is available on the
Great Lakes Information Network.
Fishery Commission Great Lakes Fishery Commission for more information about Sea Lamprey Control One of the best educational resources on the web 

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