18th December

Illegal aquarium releases threaten native wildlife

The recent discovery of decaying remains of an exotic fish specimen in the River Suck at Correen Ford in the Midlands has raised concerns of the threat to native wildlife from aquarium releases by 'otherwise well-meaning individuals'.

IFI Dragonfish

Six inch sharp-toothed dragonfish Photo: Oisin Naughton, IFI

This latest discovery follows that of a yellow-bellied slider turtle on the River Maigue, Co Limerick, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland. The six-inch sharp-toothed dragonfish or Violet/Dragon Goby) is native to North and South America and can be purchased in Ireland for private aquariums. Many non-native, exotic species to Ireland are sold for the aquarium trade.

"These include freshwater fish, crayfish and aquatic plants. If released into the wide they can seriously threaten our native biodiversity and ecosystem function and conservation of internationally important native species in our rivers and lakes," explained Dr Joe Caffrey, IFI.

 "It is imperative that the public and all stakeholders are aware of the potential damage that exotic animals or plants deliberately introduced into the wild can inflict upon our wildlife and habitats."

Any sightings found in or around the waterways can be reported to the IFI through the IFI Invasive Species smart-phone app which is available to download from Google Play and iTunes App stores.

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