CHUNCHEON, Dec. 11 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s recent initiative to combat invasive fish species using native species like the ssogari, a type of Asian perch, has been found largely ineffective, raising concerns over potential harm to indigenous fish populations.
On October 10, authorities in Gangwon Province reported that while using native species such as ssogari and snakehead to target invasive species like bass could be feasible in reservoirs, it has minimal impact in larger bodies of water such as rivers. The limited space in reservoirs allows for some degree of control when a large number of native fish are introduced, but this approach is impractical and ineffective in open water systems.
One of the main challenges highlighted is the risk of smaller ssogari being preyed upon by the very species they are meant to control, such as bass, leading to an adverse effect.
The Ministry of Environment had previously initiated a project in 2014 to develop effective methods for eradicating invasive fish species. However, the project was discontinued due to the lack of breakthrough fishing methods.
Given the current situation where no effective solution has been developed to control invasive fish species, Gangwon Province has concluded that capturing invasive species using fishing gear is the most practical method. Plans are in place to aggressively cull the populations of bass and bluegill, particularly before their spawning seasons.
In addition, the province plans to continue and expand its buyback program for what are termed ‘useless fish species’ – fish that disrupt ecosystems or hinder the enhancement of aquatic resources, such as Korean chub, Korean bullhead, and Korean loach.
An official from Gangwon Province stated, “While it’s possible to control invasive species in the confined spaces of reservoirs where these species cannot move freely, in open environments, this method has not been proven effective, and we have no plans to utilize it in such settings.”
This development underscores the complexities and challenges involved in managing aquatic ecosystems and controlling invasive species, particularly in open and interconnected water systems. It also highlights the need for continued research and development of more effective and sustainable methods to protect native species and ecosystems from the impacts of invasive fish species.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)