Montana Fishermen and Anglers Warned Against Spreading Invasive Species

by Shelby Scott
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Spring is finally upon us and fishermen (and women) across the United States are digging out their poles and waders, anxious to head out fishing. However, for anglers and recreational fishermen in Montana, state officials have warned outdoorsmen against spreading an invasive snail species as they take to the water.

According to Fox News, officials identified the invasive snail species as the New Zealand mud snail. Officials recently discovered the snails at Bluewater Fish Hatchery, south of Laurel, MT. Now, in order to prevent Montana fishermen from spreading the invasive species, the outlet reports the hatchery will more than likely have to get rid of the majority of its scaley residents.

Montana FWP to Conduct Full Investigation

Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department announced their plan to conduct an investigation on Friday. Eileen Ryce, the department’s fisheries division administrator, said, “We are conducting a full decontamination and our oldest concrete settling basins, where this infestation was discovered, will no longer be used.”

Unfortunately, for the Montana hatchery, most of its rainbow trout and largemouth bass will have to be destroyed.

There is one positive side to the current infestation. That’s that many of the hatchery’s largemouth bass are big enough to eat. So rather than wasting the product, Bluewater Fish Hatchery plans to give away the bass this weekend. Children and anyone in possession of a fishing license will be eligible to come claim the fish.

As for Montana fishermen, the FWP has urged residents to make sure they dispose of fish remains in the garbage. Throwing them in local waterways and sewers could aid in the spread of the invasive species. This is the best solution to prevent the infestation from affecting the state’s natural waterways.

The Source of the Infestation

Sadly, for this particular hatchery, the current snail infestation isn’t the first to occur. According to the news outlet, the hatchery had to be quarantined and decontaminated in 2020. The move followed another New Zealand mud snail infestation.

So far, the FWP has not identified the source of the current infestation. However, officials believe it’s possible some of the creatures could have survived the earlier decontamination efforts by occupying cracks in the concrete holding tanks.

Regardless of the source, however, decontamination efforts are going to cost the Montana fish hatchery quite a pretty penny. The estimated cost for the current infestation sits at about $225,000.

Florida Approves ‘Farm-Raised’ Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass might face danger from New Zealand mud snails in Montana. However, in Florida, they’re about to occupy an all-new environment.

You’ve heard of farm-raised livestock and poultry. But now, the Sunshine State has officially approved a law that would allow for farm-raised largemouth bass.

The move will likely serve several ends. While seafood connoisseurs prefer wild-caught game fish, farm-raised largemouth bass would be more relatively available at all times of the year.

Additionally, it will aid in boosting Florida’s economy and even in the creation of new jobs.

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