Scapegoat Species

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Newt

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The current thread re: Zander cull got me thinking. Does every country have a species they blame for everything from lowering water quality to lowering population of certain other species?

In the US, carp are blamed for many problems. For instance, if the water in your lake is cloudy, it has to be the fault of the evil carp since they eat all the vegitation and stir up all the mud. If your bass (or pike or perch or whatever) population dwindles, it is because the evil carp is eating their eggs. Did your dog break a leg? Well, somehow a carp must have been at fault.

This sort of non-thinking is done by not only anglers but by our fisheries "professionals" and is not based on any hard fact or evidence that I can find. However, they can be seen by local anglers and Pols as "doing something about the problem" if they perform a major carp cull. It never lasts BTW since the only certain way to remove the carp is to kill all the fish in the lake. :eek:

I notice that pike or zander seem to get the blame for many UK fishery problems. Is this based on evidence or is it just something that "everybody knows"?

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Ziptrev

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Back in the 70s Newt, The 1st scare here was the Fenland introduction of the European Zander.This was viewed as a major threat to the match fishing scene in particular and was hyped out of all proportion.
As the scare has faded, the legacy has remained and Cyprinid boys latest post reveals the extent of the legislation on 'imported species'
In the 70s, many Pike caught were destroyed, with no understanding of the food chain, or mishandled under the mistaken impression that because its a predator, it must be tough.
Thankfully, the Pike is not now classed by as many (a few diehard haters remain) as ,Vermin, but man being man ,now has the Cormorant explosion problem,(which is statistically much more frightening than a few illegally imported Zander)to worry about!
A local saying is 'Well, It'll all be the same in 100 years'
At our age Newt, Did America have the same 60's Cold War belief in Nuclear Armegeddon, that I endured as a teenager?

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Trogg

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According to the e-mails i've had today the best scapegoat species in the uk (& one of the rarest) is the
Trogg

Alan
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Newt

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From Ziptrev "At our age Newt, Did America have the same 60's Cold War belief in Nuclear Armegeddon, that I endured as a teenager?"

More so in the late 50s but for sure continued into the 60s.

In at least one case for us, the threat was even more immediate. Cuba is only 60 miles south of Florida and at one point the Soviets were supplying Castro with nukes and he was about ready to use them. Crazy old buzzard. He could maybe have destroyed a half-dozen cities (I say maybe since the guidance systems were rubbish and may have missed cities altogether). The result of that would have been a counter strike and the Cuban land mass would have mostly ceased to exist.


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Ziptrev

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Yep Newt, 61, I was 14 , and of course later in 63 with JFK's demise!
Still, these guys are thinking, "what the hell has that gotta do with Zander"
Simply in answer to Newt's poster, Irrational fears as they prove to be! still seem stronger than reality sometimes.Or even oft times!

And There again, theres no smoke without fire!


cya



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Cyprinid_boy

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Newt,
Sound scientific evidence is lacking, with regard to the effect of certain species. This country has three target species. Zander eat every thing in sight, grass carp will eat everything green in the universe and catfish will spend their life breeding like rabbits eating all fish species. These are the opinions of our fishery experts in collaboration with the Environment Agency. Grass carp prefer particles to aquatic weed as less is required for weight gain. This has been shown in a number of aquaculture papers, however, this evidence is disregarded. Catfish are predominantly scavengers. And in the wrong environment zander can cause problems. I think the reasoning behind these species being targeted comes down to the non indigenous state, They were imported behind the back of the EA and DEFRA and they just didn't like it. I'll stop there, as I will probably be moderated lol.

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Newt

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Cyprinid_boy - those folks would be right at home working for the US game & fish commission or some state Department of Natural Resources. All they would have to learn is that carp are also responsible for global warming (or cooling, whichever is bad this year).

Don't they know that the only natural enemy a 2lb Zander has is a larger Zander or a pike; that 6 2lb Zander will eat lots more than one 13lb one will? Ah well. They should have learned from the many pike culls which caused an explosion of jack pike but ......

Are your grass carp the sterile triploids or do you have a breeding population?

Catfish - Wels or one of the US imports like channel or bullhead?

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Cyprinid_boy

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Ahh, don't forget newt, a zander will not consume a fish over 6 inches in length. I was told this by a so called expert only the other day!! Catfish are wels, and have shown to breed in this country, but not often. Grass carp are not sterile, however, i know of no occasion of breeders in this country. I am not expert on these species, but i believe they require higher temperatures than the uk can offer. Also they are naturally river spawners, but im sure they adapt, most fish do.

Interesting comment about a zander's predator. Technically you are correct, big eat small. But consider, big eat mature breeders of smaller species. This is the concept. If the average size of the zander can be reduced to 8-10oz then more roach will survive the passing of this stage of life because more breeders will produce more 0+ fish and the number of small zander should stay steady. Just a theory, but if you didn't remove the 3lb+ zander then there would be no fish to spawn causing a species collapse.

mat
 

Newt

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Mat - one reason I enjoy this whole sort of topic is there are so many nice opinions floating about.

Your argument makes sense. I just wonder if it matches reality. Guess we will know in a few years.

I have noticed over the years that fish, animals, and such that have natural preditors around seem to come to a nice balance if we just leave them alone and if they have a bit of room to work with. Maybe you need to make sure there are some pike and Wels in the waters you are working with and just let things go??

I think you are probably correct about grass carp needing warmer temperatures. In the US, our carp tend to get larger in the northern part of the country where the winters are really brutal (temps into the -30to -35C range) but they have some decent spring/summer periods to sort of make up for it. Grassies however, just don't fare well up there at all. And our catfish stay much smaller if they survive it at all. Channel cat and bullheads do live there but blue and flathead just aren't found except in warmer areas.

BTW - I have heard that walleye (very, very, very close cousins of the zander), in common with pike and black bass (the US largemough and smallmouth) will on occasion try to eat anything they can fit into their mouth. And all these species have big mouths.

Newt Vail
 
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