February 9, 2009

Exotic fish threaten Everglades

Exotic fish threaten native species in Florida's Everglades but marine biologists say the threat is hard to assess because the invasive species are underwater.

Walking catfish and other species pose a threat much greater than the python, the Everglades' most notorious invasive species, The Miami Herald reported Monday

"This is a problem that is 10 times worse than the python, but it's all under water, so nobody knows about it,'' said Dave Hallac, the park's chief biologist.

Since 2000, park scientists have charted a surge of invasives in the Everglades, the newspaper reported. At least 16 exotics have been caught in the park freshwater zone.

''In some ways, it's a form of pollution,'' said fisheries biologist Jeff Kline.