Category Archives: Fishing

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Invasive Species: Zebra Mussels Now In Texas

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Zebra mussels are an invasive species in the US. They first arrived in 1988 on European ships ballast. Lack of predators against the zebra mussels gave them the ability to infest eastern US waterways from the start. When they arrived here they increased competition for native aquatic species. They attach to our boats and are hard to see because they are only about an inch long. Zebra mussels spread faster than bunny rabbits- they multiply by producing about one million larvae per one single zebra mussel. Texas should be worried about their lakes because as you can see in the graph, they’ve now spread down here. According to texasinvasives.org, “Zebra mussels can cause tremendous environmental and economic damage – hurting aquatic life, damaging your boat, hindering water recreation and even threatening your water supply.” Find out about if zebra mussel are in our area here.

So what can you do? Firstly, you can spread awareness. Many people don’t know what invasive species are. Spreading awareness brings attention to people like Dan Molloy, a researcher who is trying to find a “natural killer” to eradicate the pests. You can find more information about his research here in this short article. You can also go on outings to help get rid of the zebra mussels.

Zebra mussels attach to many parts of your boat and clean thrive for days. To make sure they aren’t attached to your boat, clean all parts of, drain it completely, and dry the boat for at least a week before entering into a new body of water.

Seafood Watch

For special occasions, we turn to a nice sushi dinner or some good salmon. When we’re on the beach in Hawaii or sightseeing in San Francisco, we like to finish off the day with shrimp cocktails and fresh crab. Sometimes when we’re visiting exotic places, we’re introduced to enormous Tiger Prawns, shark fins, and conch. Admit it, seafood is usually an interesting and delicious twist to our everyday lives. For some people, avoiding things like shark fin, dolphin, and sea turtle is obvious. But it’s not just the exotic seafood choices that are the most harmful. In fact, it’s often the things we eat every day.

Bluefin Tuna

Seafood can be considered unsustainable for many different reasons. Some species, sea turtles included, are already endangered, often due to environmental strains other than fishing such as habitat loss and climate change. However, many other species such as the prized Bluefin Tuna (shown above) are on their way to endangerment simply because of unsustainable fishing practices and overfishing in the wild. This often makes fish farming seem like the most sustainable way to produce seafood, but unfortunately, this practice can also have downsides, such as drinking water pollution and natural habitat destruction. This makes eating seafood in general look grim. So should you be eating seafood and if so, how do you know?

The Bad News…

Location is everything with a lot of seafood out there, so it isn’t always as easy as saying yes or no to a certain type of fish. In some cases, sardines for instance, regulations or safe practices from one source make them a great option, where another source without safe practice should be avoided at all costs. The good part is, even though this is a tiny bit of effort on your part, you can always ask a restaurant or grocery store where that fish is from, and they’ll usually have an answer for you. If not, it’s up to you whether or not you want to buy it.

The Good News…

Seafood is great! And you can absolutely still eat a ton of it. You can still eat the following delicious seafood treats (and more) without worrying about sustainability:

  • Mussels
  • Clams
  • Mackerel
  • Catfish
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Squid
  • Tilapia
  • And more!

Sometimes being sustainable isn’t the easiest choice, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California has an easy to use Seafood Watch List that you can look up online or through a phone app. The best thing you can do in this case and in any environmental matter is to keep yourself informed and inform others, so please visit the links to learn more.

-Morgan, Sierra Club Intern