FWP Sets Rules for Responding to Illegal Fish

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — The state Fish and Wildlife Commission has adopted guidelines for the agency’s response to illegal fish introductions into Montana waterways.

The commission on Thursday approved the rules that give the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks 30 days to respond to reports of an illegal introduction. Fisheries managers could decide to remove the fish by netting or poison or change fishing regulations.

Managers will have the flexibility to respond based on the risk the species poses along with the potential effectiveness of removal efforts.

FWP fish management supervisor Don Skaar says the new rule will first be used to deal with last year’s illegal introduction of smallmouth bass into Seeley Lake.

Non-native species can reduce or eliminate native fish populations by preying on them or competing with them for food.