Exotic FishOver the years, the construction of new reservoirs in Texas, the need for biocontrol tools, and the popularity of sport fishing, aquarium hobbies, and zoo visitation have combined to create a problem with exotic fish in Texas waters. Federal and state agencies have intentionally released a variety of non-native fish, including bigeye lates, grass carp, Nile perch, orangemouth corvina, peacock bass, and tench in order to provide sport fishing opportunities for the public, as well as a means to control “trash” fish and aquatic vegetation. On an ad hoc basis, members of the public have let fish go from aquaria, bait buckets, zoos, and fish farms, including such exotics as goldfish, guppies, green swordtails, redbellied pacus, tiger barbs, bigeye lates, and many others. In some cases, these exotics have outbred and outfed rival native fish, as well as causing problems with algal blooms, oxygen crashes, and introduced parasites.


Map sources:

For this map’s design and its underlying data, we are indebted to Pam Fuller and Matthew Cannister of the USGS and Bob Howells of Texas Parks and Wildlife.


Selected references:

Fuller, P.L., L.G. Nico, and J.D. Williams. 1999. Nonindigenous Fishes Introduced into Inland Waters of the United States. Special Publication 27. American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, Maryland.

Howells, R.G. 1992. Annotated List of Introduced Non-Native Fishes, Mollusks, Crustaceans and Aquatic Plants in Texas Waters. Management Data Series, No. 78. Texas Parks and Wildlife, Inland Fisheries Branch. Austin, Texas

Howells, R.G. and G.P. Garrett. 1992. Status of some Exotic Sport Fishes in Texas Waters. Texas Journal of Science 44(3): 317-324.

Howells, R.G. 2001. Introduced Non-Native Fishes and Shellfishes in Texas Waters: An Updated List and Discussion. Management Data Series, No. 188. Texas Parks and Wildlife, Inland Fisheries Branch. Austin, Texas.