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Trout Stocking - Trout Stocking Endangers The Food Chain

By Edited Mar 26, 2016 0 0

In 1950s, thousands of fingerlings from hatcheries were dropped off to lakes in Sierra to even in the most inaccessible areas. This, however, is not the way nature had intended it to be. Yes, it seems a great way to pay back nature's abundance and blessings but trout stocking may not be beneficial to many creatures living in and around the lake.

The purpose of this trout stocking is to make trout available for backcountry tourists' sport fishing and eating needs. This has been practiced for many years since 1950 and is still reigning in some areas. The bad thing about this is that the fingerlings dropped were left unsupervised and effects in the ecological balance were not carefully studied prior to the trout stocking. Currently, people have been very vigilant and aware of this issue as studies and observations have been conducted.

Trout stocking deeply changed the lakes and streams wherein trout stocking were done. Specifically in Sierra Nevada, a type of a frog which is the mountain yellow-legged frog is being pushed to the list of endangered species. Compared to common frogs that convert from polliwog to adult in just months, the mountain yellow-legged frog remains as a tadpole for two to four years which renders them defenseless against trout thus, making the most common amphibian in the world to be in the list of extinct creatures.

Furthermore, current research also shows that trout stocking stimulates disproportionate algal growth which drives the native aquatic creatures away from their home. Because of this, mountain garter snakes, which are terrestrial predators that feed on amphibians, drop in numbers. It seems like a domino effect in the food chain just because of the extinction of mountain yellow-legged frog brought about by trout stocking. Having said that, protection of the mountain yellow-legged frog is required to support more aquatic creatures.

In areas where the dropped fish died, microorganisms like the zooplankton and insects such as beetles started to thrive making the lake go back to its natural state and operation. According to experts, it will take about ten years for the lake to fully recover and ten more years before it goes back to normal.

Lakes in some areas still patronize trout stocking but there seem to be changes as people are becoming aware of the negative effects it brings. Government agencies come up with frog protection tactics to hinder total extinction of the aforementioned frog specie.

Trimming down trout stocking will be very difficult as people have opposing stand when it comes to this issue. Many people still want to continue this practice but more acknowledge this need for change. Currently, trout stocking was discontinued in some areas where the frog thrives in. If this has been done years ago, the frog would not have been extinct today and the food chain would not have been affected.

In my opinion, trout stocking should be put to an end. Yes it is man's way to thank nature for her providence but if it affects more creatures, then trout stocking should be stopped for man and nature's sakes.


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