August 12, 2009

Round goby fish threaten Great Lakes areas

Canadian scientists say they have discovered an alarming invasion of round goby fish into Great Lakes tributaries that might threaten endangered fishes.

The researchers from the University of Toronto, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the University of Guelph identified a significant invasion of round goby (neogobius melanostomus) into many Great Lakes tributaries, including several areas of the Thames, Sydenham, Ausable and Grand rivers.

This invasion poses many potential threats for native species of fish and mussels, said Mark Poos, a doctoral candidate and lead author of the researchers' study. Of particular concern is the impact on such endangered species as the small eastern sand darter fish and mussels such as the wavy rayed lampmussel, Poos said.

Round gobies entered the St. Clair River in 1990, likely through ballast water from ocean-going ships, the scientists said.

Poos advises anglers catching a round goby not to release it back into the water. Other tips to prevent the spread of round goby include not releasing live bait into the water, draining your boat before leaving any water access and never transferring fish from one location to another.

If people do catch round goby, they should report the capture to

The study appeared recently in the journal Biological Invasions.