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Region Invaded by Alien Species

September 17, 2007

New York, NY – New York's Great Lakes are under attack by aliens. Peter Jenkins with Defenders of Wildlife explains native species and their habitats are being overtaken by invasive species, from reckless shipping and wildlife practices.

"The Great Lakes have been hammered by Asian Carp brought in through ballast water and by people releasing non-native fish with viral hemorrhagic septicemia. This is killing off native fish."

Apparently, some of the invaders swam all the way up the Mississippi after being released downstream by careless fishermen, a move that proved fatal for fish of at least a half-dozen species in western New York. Jenkins adds the entire Mid-Atlantic is now being threatened by another Asian fish species, accidentally released into the warm waters of the Eastern United States.

"The Chinese Snakehead has invaded the Potomac. It's believed to be out-competing and taking over the habitats of native fish. It's a very voracious fish, and a threat wherever the water is slightly warm."

According to Jenkins, the coauthor of a study called "Broken Screens," local biodiversity depends on global screening, and on restricting animal immigration and release.

"My focus is on intentional importation where people illegally or accidently release alien species. Those can easily be address with tighter laws."

The full report found online at

Robert Knight/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - NY