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Wild caught fish - keep or release?

Discussion in 'General Marine / Newbie' started by Melissa360, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Melissa360

    Melissa360 AC Members

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    I need help!

    I'm a Marine Biology teacher (my second year teaching the course) and back in August I caught two scup/porgies (about 6 inches long each) in Long Island Sound and decided to keep them in my 55 gallon saltwater tank in my classroom. It's now the end of the school year and I am debating about releasing them back into the Sound

    Some have told me it's a good idea to release them back - they will eventually get bigger and won't fit the tank (one of them is already territorial and nipping at the other) and they will probably be happier, plus then I can just not worry about the tank over the summer and buy some regular store-bought fish when I come back.

    Others have told me not to release them back, but I'm not really clear on the reason why they shouldn't be released back into the Sound? I know that there are concerns with store-bought fish being released into the wild because of parasites/diseases that they could bring into wild populations, but since these fish originally came from the wild wouldn't that not be a problem?

    Would an expert on this be able to give me some insight?
     
  2. SnakeIce

    SnakeIce AC Members

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    The worry is that they might have picked up a disease in the captivity that would then be introduced to the wild that wasn't there before. Without knowing the details I would say that is valid enough concern not to return them to the wild.

    The only way I'd say it would be ok is if the gear was new and had not had any other fish or water source used in the tank. Water from the Sound used to fill it and do changes. I know some places have tanks close enough to the water to use ocean water circulated through their displays with local organisms, and if any particular fish gets to be to big or a problem they can be returned because it is almost like they didn't leave. But in those cases local stuff and tanks with imported stock are strictly separated and do not share any maintenance tools.

    If there is any point of livestock or decor not from the same location or contact with maintenance tools used on such then no don't release them. The foreign organism risk is such that these steps ensure they are not introduced.
     
    Tifftastic likes this.
  3. Melissa360

    Melissa360 AC Members

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    Thank you - sounds like I will have to keep them then! Hopefully they don't get too big for the tank...
     
  4. OrionGirl

    OrionGirl No freelancing!

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    Snake Ice nailed it.

    Contact one of the local aquariums and see if they'd be willing to take them...and look into local legislation before collecting again. You're close enough that you could go in the summer and collect some of the tropicals that nursery in the LI area--they don't survive the winter, so can be legally collected without a license. For most other fish, there are restrictions.
     
    fsn77 likes this.

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