‘Dragonfish’ Discovery Highlights Danger of Illegal Aquarium Releases to Native Wildlife30 June 2014
IRELAND - The recent discovery by a local angler of the decaying remains of an exotic fish specimen in the River Suck at Correen Ford in the Midlands has raised further concern of the threat to our native wildlife from aquarium releases by otherwise well-meaning individuals.
This latest discovery followed by that of a Yellow-bellied Slider turtle on the River Maigue, in Co. Limerick last week.
Despite the partially decomposed state of the fish, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) staff, in consultation with international experts, believe the six inch-long, sharp-toothed specimen to be a Dragonfish (also known as a Violet or Dragon Goby).
This fish is native to North and South America and can be purchased in Ireland for private aquariums.
In recent years, human-mediated introductions of non-native species such as Asian Clam, Australian Swamp Stonecrop, South African Pondweed and Zebra Mussel into Irish waterways have resulted in detrimental impacts to native species and habitats, degraded the amenity value of areas that become infested and required costly control measures to be implemented to mitigate these impacts.
Under the European Communities Birds and Natural Habitats Regulations 2011, the unlicensed release to the wild of any animal species, which is not ordinarily resident in Ireland or a regular visitor to the country, in a wild state is an offence.
TheFishSite News Desk