The National Park Service (NPS) strives to maintain park resources in a natural, unaltered condition. Native fish contribute to nutrient recycling and help maintain natural ecosystem processes when they live out their entire lifecycle, from spawning to death, in the aquatic system. Catch and release fishing improves native fish populations by allowing more fish to remain and reproduce in the ecosystem. This practice provides an opportunity for increasing numbers of anglers to enjoy fishing and to successfully catch fish. Releasing all native fish caught while in a national park will ensure that enjoyment of this recreation opportunity will last for generations to come. Learn more about how to successfully catch and release fish.
What is a Native Fish?
What is a Non-native Fish?
Native versus Non-native Fish
As scientific knowledge and understanding of natural ecosystems evolved, managers of protected natural areas realized that the introduction of non-native fish often results in alteration of the natural aquatic ecosystem. Introduced fish frequently out-compete native fish for food and habitat, reducing or eliminating the distribution and abundance of native fish.
The NPS no longer stocks for recreational fishing in natural areas. Instead, the National Park Service relies on natural reproduction and careful management of fishing activities to sustain populations and fishing opportunities. However, early stocking practices have left their legacy in many park waters. Non-native fish inhabit many aquatic ecosystems, disrupting natural processes.
Why Protect Native Species?
Last updated: April 10, 2015