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The Florida Non-Native Fish Action Alliance brings together federal and state agencies, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations to address the need for documenting and managing the non-native fishes introduced to the state's waters.
Dozens of species of non-native fishes have been introduced into Florida's freshwaters, have established reproducing populations, and are spreading to new locations. Additionally, newly-introduced non-native species are regularly discovered. Maintaining current information on the geographic ranges of all non-native fishes is a daunting task, as many jurisdictions are involved at the state, federal, and municipal levels. There is a need to coordinate sampling, research and management across jurisdictional boundaries while also providing up-to-date geographic distribution information to publicly-accessible databases.
In 2012, US Geological Survey (USGS) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) fish biologists began working together informally to build the Florida Non-Native Fish Action Alliance. This group is comprised of many agencies, universities and non-governmental organizations. While our agencies’ missions may differ, we recognize the need to work together to tackle the enormous task of documenting and managing non-native fishes in Florida. Our objectives include:
Results to Date
Our first effort was a small-scale survey in and around Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in 2012. That year, croaking gourami (Trichopsis vittata) had recently been collected in the refuge even though it was thought to have died out decades ago. Several teams of fish biologists converged on the refuge to sample areas around the refuge in hopes of determining the spread of the gourami. While sampling for gourami, another non-native species was unexpectedly collected – Jack Dempsey (Rocio octofasciata). The discovery of these two species in areas that were not commonly sampled for fishes led us to consider additional work on a more extensive geographic scale. Thus, the idea for the Fish Slam was born.
Fish Slam events, wherein teams of fishery professionals converge for a day of sampling, are similar to a BioBlitz. Our program started with one, one-day Fish Slam event per year and, with the assistance of funding from USGS, it has expanded to multiple two-day events each year. Similarly, the list of participating agencies, universities, and other organizations has grown with each event. Between 2012 and 2019, we have held 11 Fish Slams, sampling over 200 locations throughout the State of Florida. Hundreds of specimens have been deposited at natural history museums around the country. Additionally, more than 600 records have been added to the USGS NAS database.
To see specific results from each Fish Slam, click on the Related tab above.
For more information about this program, contact:
Pam Schofield, Ph.D.Research Fishery BiologistUS Geological SurveyWetland and Aquatic Research CenterGainesville FL352.firstname.lastname@example.org
This work is funded by the USGS Invasive Species program and the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center. We are grateful to the individual participants who take time out of their busy working or personal schedules to lend a hand, relying heavily on their assistance and expertise. To see the list of our partners, click on the Partners tab above.
Below are other science projects associated with this project.
Below are news stories associated with this project.
The Fish Slam event discovered two nonnative fish species never seen before in Big Cypress National Preserve.
Below are partners associated with this project.