Benefits of Native Fish

fish with mouth open.
The Razorback Sucker is an endangered, native fish species of the Colorado River.

NPS Photo

What is a native Fish?

A native fish is a species of fish that occurred within a river, stream or lake historically and was not introduced into that water body by man.

Why are Native Fish Important?

National parks contain 60% of all native freshwater fish species that occur in the U.S.!

Native Fish are important to aquatic ecosystems because healthy fish populations tend to mean a healthier aquatic environment. Conserving native fish is part of a larger movement to conserve biodiversity on earth. More variety of species leads to better ecosystem services.

Fish provide many services for both humans and the ecosystem. They serve as food sources and support economies all while adding to the diversity of aquatic systems.

Some native fishes may not be economically important, but conserving these native creatures is still vital. Many native fish are only able to exist in one environment, like the Humpback Chub, and that means that some species are only able to be found in one place on earth! Conserving native fish helps to create unique and vibrant ecosystem.

How can you tell if a fish is native?

Identifying native fish depends entirely on location; what is native in one area may not be native in another! When going fishing, it's helpful to know which species are native so you can practice catch and release fishing. Ask the park to find out which species are native, or visit NPS Species.

Eastern Brook Trout Eastern Brook Trout

Left image
The Eastern Brook Trout is a non-native species in Mount Rainier National Park.
Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Right image
The Chinook Salmon is a native, threatened species in Mount Rainier National Park.
Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

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    Tags: native fish

    Last updated: May 31, 2018