The dangers of being a “bucket biologist”

Aug 24, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: Oct 16, 2023, 2:28 pm

"Bucket biology" is taking one fish from its home pond or lake and transplanting it into another. D...

"Bucket biology" is taking one fish from its home pond or lake and transplanting it into another. Don't be a "bucket biologist." (Ray Grass)

(Ray Grass)

SALT LAKE CITY — Let’s begin by telling you exactly what a “Bucket Biologist” is. There is actually no biology degree involved here, just a desire to transplant his or her preferred species of fish from one lake or pond to another that may be more convenient or closer to home for the angler. It could also be simply a desire to take “Nemo” from the aquarium into a whole new world.  Stop! “Bucket Biology” does not come without consequences to both the fish and the fishery!

Don’t be a “bucket biologist”

The Division of Wildlife Resources is reminding Utahns that it’s both harmful and illegal to move live fish within the state.  There have been four such cases already in 2023.

  • Green Sunfish at Yearns Reservoir in Sanpete County
  • Smallmouth bass in Settlement Canyon Reservoir in Tooele County
  • Redside Shiners in Paragonah Reservoir in Iron County
  • Largemouth Bass in Newcastle Reservoir also in Iron County

“Illegal fish introductions seldom improve fisheries, instead ruin those fisheries and threaten the species that live there”, said DWR Sportfish Coordinator Randy Oplinger. “It is also illegal in Utah and can result in a Class A misdemeanor.”

Negative effects on the fishery

  • Illegal species can prey on and outcompete other fish species.
  • The new fish can introduce disease because they weren’t tested.
  • The new fish can negatively impact water quality.

Oplinger also said the cost can be enormous in both time and money.

“It is very expensive and takes a very long time, often requiring rotenone treatments that kill all of the fish,” he said.

Utahns can contact any DWR office if they have unwanted fish or if they have any concerns about a particular species in their favorite fishing hole.

Learn more about the negative consequences of illegal fish introductions by visiting the “Don’t Ditch a Fish” page on the DWR website.

Utahns are also encouraged to call 1-800-662-3337 to report any invasive fish they may find.

For more make sure to listen at 7:05 a.m. this Saturday morning when Randy joins KSL Outdoors Radio at 102.7FM and 1160AM.

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The dangers of being a “bucket biologist”