Non-native Fish Species

A composite of three photographs showing fisheries staff participating in different fisheries management practices.
A composite of three photos including fisheries staff performing active management practices. National Park Service employees and volunteers perform electroshocking of park stream (left). SCA intern performing drip-rate checks on stream detoxification site during a chemical fish removal project (middle). A close view of the drip station equipment used during chemical fish removal projects (right). All the above practices have been used to remove non-native fish species from several park waters.

Photos courtesy of National Park Service.

 

That's right!

Non-native species (a.k.a. alien, introduced, non-indigenous, or exotic species) are plant or animal species that were intentionally or unintentionally introduced into areas outside of the natural range of such species. The invasion of non-native species is one of the most serious problems of national parks. Non-natives invade and colonize parks by every means possible and can cause severe ecological damage by altogether displacing native species. If non-natives are not aggressively controlled, the National Park System is at risk of losing a significant portion of its native biological resources.

Here are some of the non-native fish species within the park and how they were introduced:

Gizzard Shad: Introduced by man (The Fishes of Tennessee, University of Tennessee Press, 1993).

Brown Trout: Introduced from Europe (The Fishes of Tennessee, University of Tennessee Press, 1993).

Rainbow Trout: Introduced from the western United States. Logging companies began stocking in what would become the park in 1910. Great Smoky Mountains National Park stopped stocking rainbow trout in 1975 (The Fishes of Tennessee, University of Tennessee Press, 1993).

Fathead Minnow: Introduced by anglers from bait buckets (The Fishes of Tennessee, University of Tennessee Press, 1993).

Mosquito Fish: May have been widely introduced for mosquito control (The Fishes of Tennessee, University of Tennessee Press, 1993).

Walleye: Introduced by TVA stocking practices (www.TVA.gov; The Fishes of Tennessee, University of Tennessee Press, 1993).

Longear Sunfish: Invaded the National Park via migration from connected reservoir systems (The Fishes of Tennessee, University of Tennessee Press, 1993).

White Bass: Invaded the National Park via migration from connected reservoir systems (The Fishes of Tennessee, University of Tennessee Press, 1993).

The number of exotic species within the park depends upon species migration from reservoir embayments bordering the park.

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Last updated: August 10, 2015

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