Tag Archives: Fish

Northern Snakehead Destroy Fish Exports and Ecosystems

Northern Snakehead Destroy Fish Exports and Ecosystems

Wednesday March 9 2011

Sport fishing waiting for the BIG bite


“Within the Underwater Ecosystem of Fish and Fisheries of the GLB the commercial and sport fishery on the Great Lakes is collectively valued at more than $4 billion annually. Translating that, means Canada is the 6th largest Exporter of fish and seafood products worldwide.”

“Current concerns include the Fisheries and Oceans Canada warn the Northern Snakehead, native to Eastern Asia, cannot be allowed in Canadian Waters or it will destroy ecosystems and the fish that call it home.”


The Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (GLBE) is unique and fragile ! In the gravel-filled bed an Ancient River System that used to flow south to Waterloo, southeast to Hamilton and southwest to what we now call Lake Ontario. Lake Ontario is the 14th largest lake in the world ! And, the (GLB) is the largest Freshwater Ecosystem in the world ! Yet, being a downstream Great Lake, Lake Ontario is impacted by human activities occurring throughout Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie basin. Within this freshwater system, the five Great Lakes contain enough liquid to cover the entire U.S. with 7 feet (2 meters ) of water. And, 40 million humans live within the GLB, with 8.5 million Canadians and half of Canada’s industries depending on freshwater. Lake Ontario has the highest ratio of watershed area to surface area. What is the outflow of Lake Ontario ? The outflow to the St. Lawrence River is 93% of Lake Ontario. Inflow comes from a popular fishing ground, the Credit River Watershed, as part of the 14% of inflow from tributaries to Lake Ontario. The Credit River and Lake Ontario are both part of the Great Lakes Basin that connect to the St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic Ocean. The mix of fish species in the Great Lakes -St. Lawrence River came from Mississippi and the Atlantic drainage’s. The GLB and St. Lawrence Region are one of six Arctic-Atlantic sub-zones. Fish from the Wisconsinan Glacier formed the nucleus of present-day assemblage of fish in the Great Lakes basin, says Underhill. The Aquatic Ecosystem Classification for the GLB Wartershed in Ontario that was published by Ministry of Natural Resources in Peterborough, Ontario. In this report, they stated: ” Fish community patterns are the key to biological criteria.” Their methodology included examining distribution patterns of fish families, communities and the observance of some endemic species demonstrates the relationship among the upper level hierarchical organ of ecological units associated with biological processes.

Commercial fishing
Sports fishing in Hamilton

Within the Underwater Ecosystem of Fish and Fisheries of the GLB the commercial and sport fishery on the Great Lakes is collectively valued at more than $4 billion annually. Translating that, means Canada is the 6th largest Exporter of fish and seafood products worldwide. For example, in 2,008 Canada exported move than 600,000 tonnes of fish and seafood = $4 billion. And the Ontario freshwater catch is 12,000 to 20,000 tonnes a year valued at $ 20 million to $ 40 million and employing 1,400 in the fishery industry. The main fish in the Ontario Fishery include: Pickerel (walleye), yellow perch, whitefish, white bass, white perch, lake trout, rainbow smelt and lake herring. The fishery consists of a blend of native and introduced species, some of which are regularly re-stocked. common catches include Lake Trout, Salmon, Pickerel (Walleye) , and Whitefish. The greater commercial fishing harvest were recorded in 1888 and 1889 at about 147 million pounds. Since then, the fishery has been threatened on three fronts: (1) overfishing, (2) pollution, and (3) invasive species. Recent years have seen a major resurgence as Pickerel (walleye) and yellow perch fisheries re-cover in Lake Erie and new Salmon fisheries develop in Lake Ontario. The region’s inland waters offer many fishing opportunities as well. Trout streams attract fly fishermen and the lakes and streams offer a variety of fish including: crappie, bluegills, perch, pike, small and large mouth bass. According to Cudmore and Crossman in 2,000, the Great Lakes was home to 142 established forms of fish, native and introduced. They calculated 26 species considered “threatened” or “endangered” or “special concern”. They say of the 55 species over the years introduced in one or more Great Lakes 25 species became established; and 26 species expired from the Lakes ( 4 of which are globally extinct and 3 were endemic to the Great Lakes). Conversely Hubbs and Lagler in 1981 stated: “234 species live or have lived within the drainage system of the GLB.” In Effects of Socio-Ecological Complexity in Dynamic of Harvested Fish Stocks by Integrative Biology Professor Tom Nudds, University of Guelph said” “there may be fewer fish in the world’s seas today, but Ontario’s Great Lakes fishery remains comparatively healthy/” Helping to conserve fish stocks and sustain commercial freshwater fisheries in Ontario is the purpose of the project at the University of Guelph funded a five year project at $250,000.00 by a national research group – Canadian Capture Fisheries Research Network The Guelph University team of researchers goals include: (1) to apply research strengths in the fish population dynamics, (2) research food web ecology, (c) and, to learn how government agencies and commercial fisheries might better manage fisheries in Canada. Tom Nudds emphasizes that “inland fisheries have largely avoided problems that have led to declining fish stocks, including the collapse of the Atlantic Cod Fishery. As more desirable larger ocean fish are exhausted, fisheries are seeking a smaller less valuable species, a phenomenon called “fishing down the food chain.” Within the concern of fisheries is the fact in Feb. 2,009 U.S.A. President Barack Obama earmarked $475 million for the Great Lake Restoration Initiative. This task force was to work closely with Canada to protect and restore the lakes.

Need to keep our waters safe


Current concerns include the Fisheries and Oceans Canada warn the Northern Snakehead, native to Eastern Asia, cannot be allowed in Canadian Waters or it will destroy ecosystems and the fish that call it home. Of the 36 species, the Northern Snakehead are of a particular concern to Canada because it occurs naturally in colder water with its razor sharp teeth and how it bites its prey in half. As a woman found out while fishing in Welland Cannel in Lake Ontario in 2,010 it can live out of water for a few days, as it peruses prey (walks on land). there is evidence it has lived being frozen making it well-suited to Canadian waters. The Boston Globe highlighted overfishing of Bluefin tuna of the Atlantic by the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea threatening a complete collapse of the stock. Why ? Basically 80% of the catch of Atlantic Bluefin tuna goes to Japan for Sushi ! At a Japanese auction one Bluefish sold for #177.000 U.S.. Brain J. Rothschild, University of Idaho sated in How Bountiful Are Ocean Fisheries : “The world’s farmed fish industry no longer relies on salmon or trout – big reason 2X price for fish meal as of 2,006, and the result of lower catches in Peru associated with El Nino event. China’s growing economy allowed China to buy up one-sixth of the 6 plus million metric tons of fish meat available on the world market each year.” That fact changed everything said Ronald Hardy ,who directs the University of Idaho’s Acquaculture Research Institute, the spice/centre of U.S,. farmed rainbow trout production. The Underwater Ecosystems have been unbalanced by 54% decline of the big predators – tuna, cod, swordfish. But, small prey have doubled. In the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science in Washington D.C. Christenson, an Ecosystem Modeller say “try more economical fish – sablefish, mackerel, sardines or albacore tuna. The problem with albacore tuna is the concern of high mercury content, and it is also high in selenium !    Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health but required only in small amounts. Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes. The antioxidant properties of selenoproteins help prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Free radicals are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism that may contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease . Other selenoproteins help regulate thyroid function and play a role in the immune system.

Are able to breath air
Northern Snake head
Razor sharp teeth

Source , University of Guelph, Univeristy of Idaho, Fisheries and Oceans Canada,

By Jacqueline

Doug Worrall Photography



McMaster University Fish Scientists Weighed Hamilton

McMaster University Biology Dept. at Hamilton, Ontario

Tuesday November 9 2010

Water Toxicity

Bob's Pike

Dr. Chris Wood is an expert in Fish Physiology. At McMaster the wood Lab is The Physiology of Transport Processes and Metabolism, and the Aquatic Toxicology of Fish and Crustaceans. Here Dr. Wood inspires students with his love of research and his lifetime work has been encouraging and training the next generation of scientists. On April 17th, Dr. Chris Wood and Dr. Adolto Bimchini were recipients of one of eight International Canada Research Chairs recently awarded by the International Development Research Centre and the Canada Research Chair program. Dr. Chris Wood has the “Canada Research Chair in Environment and Health.” They have been awarded $1,000,000.00 to conduct environmental research in Brazil and Canada. Their research program is entitled “Battling pollution in coastal areas.” They were selected from 104 applicants. From what they learn in Brazil in the next five years ( 2,010 – 2.015), they will determine what is applicable to Hamilton Harbour cleanup. Dr. Wood in 2,007 was honored by the Royal Society of Canada, and awarded the Miroslaw Remonowski Medal for his work on metal toxicity in acquatic ecosystems.

Dr. Chris Wood as a PhD candidate himself – (1) Conducted a series of NSERC supported research projects on acid-base regulation, lactate and ammonia transport, and gas exchange in Rainbow Trout. (2) He developed an unique isolated tail-trunk preparation to serve as an in situ physiological moded to investigate metabolic, acid-base and ion regulation in Trout Muscel. The ion is an atom or group of atoms that has acquired a net electic charge by gaining or losing one or more electrons. (3) He played a major role in developing and improving a series of muscel sampling, processing and enzymatic analysis for Fish Muscel. (4) He supported a project on bioavaliability and toxicity of heavy metals in freshwater ecosystems.

His 2,008 study with Bucking on Rainbow Trout showed the net base excretion to the water increased greatly at the same time as a compensaion of a postprandial alkaline tide in the bloodstream. In another study, he indicates the results point out the need to incorporate sulfide into the acute biotic liqand models and to assess its potentially large role in preventing chronic toxicity. Another study ponts to the importance of salt and water absorbtion from the food by the gastrointestinal tract and its impact on ion-osoregulation have been overlooked by fish physiologists. In freshwater fish the quantities of most major electrolytes ingested via a normal ration far exceed those transported from the water by gills, but net absorbtion rates of specific ions vary greatly with a range of influences, including complex intractions involving musins and bile salts. In freshwater the gills and kidnesy are the major organs involved in salt uptake and water loss, respectively. In nature, most fish feed either opportunistically or on a diuranal cycle. And, we know that gut blood flow is elevated following feeding. What Dr. Wood intends to show in this study is when freshwater fish are allowed to feed, the role of gastrointestinal tract in salt and water balance is far more important than previously believed.

Water Quality

In the Saturday, Nov. 6, 2,010 Hamilton Spectator their article is aptly titled ” On the scale of fish scientists, he’s tops.” He uses water chemistry to predict whether or not the metal is going to be toxic to fish. He also pointed out that in Lake Ontario, which is quite rich in clacium, bicarbonate and dissolved organic carbon, there are many substances that will bind up the free ion and prevent it fron going on the fish gills. That means that a level of metal which wold be very benign and not have any effect in Lake Ontario would be very dangerous in a Muskoka Lake, according to the Spectator. In a study of Dr. Woods from Kenya, Africa he found a unique fish where the pH is 10 , that would kill most fish. But this fish, similar to humans excretes urea. This might become useful, said Dr. Woods, because if you take that genetic pathway and put it into aquaculture fish and get the fish to excrete urea instead of ammonia, you would need to have less water flow and less heating of the water , and you could save money.

Our waterways

sources: Web and The Hamilton Spectator


Doug Worrall

Beware Great Lakes Aquatic Fish Invasions

Beware !  Great Lakes Aquatic Fish Invasions.


As these “invasive fish species” are eminent to arrive in the Great lakes, as  a painful reminder that oil is not the only one of man’s activities that threatens to DECIMATE ENTIRE ECOSYSTEMS.  We need to set priorities in the search for solutions for Great Lake Aquatic Invasions !  One of the most significant “threats” to biodiversity in the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence region is the introduction into an ecosystem of species that are non-indigenous.  Already, new species have invaded the Great Lakes, and others are on their way.


The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater seas in the world with 80,500 sq. miles of surface area.  An index for fish biology  has been body condition , and Lake Trout have been a key species for indicating ecosystem health of the Great Lakes.
Hamilton Harbour’s fish at risk to “aquatic fish invasions” are:  (1) At Bay-front Park the fish habitat is integrated into the shoreline; 65 underwater structures were installed to create an artificial reef; and, it has increased native fish species density.  (2) At Cootes Paradise, it is a natural spawning area for native Pike. (3) Grindstone Creek Estuary has 200 spawning Pike which is a dramatic improvement from 19 Pike previously recorded.  (5) La Salle Park has 125 fish habitat structures.  (6) the Northeastern Shoreline has a  fish diversity from 6 – 18 species in 78 fish habitat modules.  Other areas in Hamilton Harbour include: Indian  Point, Willow’s Point, Carrolls Point, and Hamilton Harbour to the east as fish areas.  Fish species include:
  • Small Mouth Bass, Large Mouth Bass, Silver Bass, Walleye, Crappie, Pumpkin-seed, Northern Pike, Chinook Salmon, Lake Trout, Catfish, Smelt, Alewife, Gizzard Shap, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, White Sucker, Emeral Shiner, Spottail Shiner, Brown Bullhead, Rock Bass, Blue Gill and Yellow Perch.
“Fish Fears have excellerated as a 2,005 study  pointed to the Snake-head fish coming to Canada as “high.” including the southern Great Lakes area.  The reason Snakehead Fish came to the U.S. is two-fold: (1) the aquarium trade, and (2) transport as fish food to live fish markets.  They are a popular food due to their excellent taste and can be found in Vietnamese pot dishes, or, pickled, smoked and dried.  The Origin of Snake-heads (Channidae) a freshwater fish native to Asia, from Pakistan to China, to Thailand, to Cambodia and Borrena; besides Russia, Korea and Africa.  Now they are in the U.S. and on their way to Canada.
Will the Northern Snake-head Fish Decimate
Great Lake Fish Ecosystems ? The 2,005 study says, “only the Northern Snake-head can survive in Canadian waters.”  These fish reach maturity at 2 to 3 years old.  EACH spawning female can release 15,000 eggs at once.  Furthermore, they can mate as often as five times a year.  Therefore, mathematically, in two years time, a single female can release 150,000 EGGS.  And, as they can “walk” on land, they lay their eggs in a nest they build in vegetation in shallow water.
SNAKEHEADS HAVE NO NATURAL ENEMIES ! They grow fast after hatching and feed on plankton, aquatic insects and mollusks.  As Adults: they are attracted to light and may come out of their cover to feed on prey.  They eat anything that moves: fish, frogs, snakes, and even birds and rodents.  They ambush their food and swallow them whole, or, cut their prey in half with their sharp teeth.  They are large, up to 1 meter in length, with big mouth , large tongue, sharp teeth and huge eye.
MAJOR PROBLEM – SNAKEHEADS EAT GAMEFISH !   THEY OVERCROWD A BODY OF WATER (i.e,, Hamilton Harbour) AND HARM NATIVE SPECIES.   Without any predators, they can adapt to any water with little oxygen.  They have a physiological need to breathe atmospheric air, with a suprabranchial organ: a primitive form of labyrinth organ that lies under their long dorsal fin.  They breathe air unlike other fish – by using this primitive lung above the gills.  The adults force the young to breath by pushing them to the surface. They travel short distances on land, rhythmically moving their fins and muscular bodies = “walking”.  They will not attack people but may injure anyone stepping on them.
Carp have been an issue in Hamilton Harbour.  But, the key piece of the 1993 Project Paradise was the installation of the FISHWAY.  This is a carp barrier and two way fishway structure designed to keep non-native carp out of Cootes Paradise Marsh, while still maintaining a two-way flow of native fish.


Voracious Eaters” are two kinds of ASIAN CARP “a dangerous invasion species” that can grow and weigh 100 lbs. are:  Bighead Carp and Silver Carp.  They prefer Rivers, but, if they reach the Lakes and breed, they  could “decimate plankton ” which is the basis of the food chain for native fish.
Asian Carp were brought to the  U.S. in the 1970s to clean algae from catfish farms. They escaped captivity and have spread through the Mississippi River and tributaries.  In May 2,010 little Calumet River tried “poisoning.” as a control method.  But, of the 100,000 lb. fish being killed, NO ASIAN CARP WERE FOUND.  Then on June 23, 2,010 in Lake Calumet, only six miles from Lake Michigan a 3 foot long Asian Carp was found “a dangerous invasive species of fish: !  Fishermen, water skiers, swimmers beware – when startled by boat motors, Asian Carp “jump.”
As conservationists  reporting any citing of “invasive fish species” is paramount to prevention of them decimating our Great Lakes Entire Ecosystem.