Voracious invasive specie coming to the coast!

troutdude

Moderator
It sounds like science fiction: tens of thousands of voracious, fast-growing fish escape from ocean pens in a foreign environment and begin migrating up the coast, wreaking havoc on native fisheries.

But this is really happening, as thousands of cobia, which are found in the Atlantic but unknown to the Eastern Pacific, were accidentally released from an Ecuadorian aquaculture facility during late summer.

They’ve since been detected off Colombia and Panama, and at least one scientist believes the “rogue” fish are headed to California, with potentially “horrifying” consequences.

Cobia.jpg

Cobia prey on crabs, fish and squid, and are considered voracious. Photo: Courtesy of Milton Love

The cobia have been migrating north at a rate of about 200 miles per month, according to UC Santa Barbara research biologist, Milton Love.

Love stated recently that there’s a 50-50 chance that the cobia will reproduce along the way, and he added that water conditions will be prime for their arrival in Southern California this summer.

“The idea is intellectually interesting and vaguely horrifying at the same time,” Love said. “This is the first time that Southern California waters potentially could have a large and voracious non-native species invade.”

“What effect that will have on the native fishes, no one knows. It might not have any observable effects or it might have considerable ones. A possible scenario is for these fish to become well-established and start chomping down on native fishes.”

Cobia2.jpeg

Cobia are an important aquaculture species because of their firm, white flesh. Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia

Cobia, which can measure 6 feet and weigh about 100 pounds, prey on crabs, fish and squid. They’re also known to follow sharks and other large predators to scavenge on what they kill.

Cobia don’t travel in schools except during spring to early fall spawning seasons, and prefer offshore (pelagic) waters.

Their flesh is white and firm, making the fish ideal aquaculture specimens. The cobia being reared off Ecuador were in netted pens that somehow broke open. Those fish are now considered invasive, and their potential impact remains unknown.

Ross Robertson, a Smithsonian scientist, noted that the lionfish, an Indo-Pacific species now abundant as an invasive and harmful species in the Caribbean, “provides a compelling lesson about the strong adverse effects that alien marine fish can have on native ecosystems.”

Robertson added, “As cobia is the only species in its family, which is most closely related to remoras or shark-suckers, it too represents an unusual type of predator for the tropical East Pacific, which only increases both the degree of uncertainty about its effects and the potential for major disruption of the area’s ecosystems.”

Love, author of Certainly More Than You Wanted to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast, noted that California’s crab fishery might be impacted, since crabs are a chief prey item for cobia.

The researcher said anglers might be the first to encounter cobia, which are an important angling species in the Atlantic and Caribbean (they’re sometimes referred to as black salmon).

“You might expect to see cobia as summer migrants like yellowtail,” Love said. “They seem to be able to compete well with other fish in the vicinity and are generalists as far as what they feed on. Here, they would be in competition with yellowtail, bonito or even with reef fishes like kelp bass.”

To be sure, Southern California anglers will be delighted to catch cobia. But from a fisheries standpoint, their arrival will signal cause for concern.

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Read more at http://www.grindtv.com/nature/thous...y-scientists-are-worried/#aMOdZvuKUqv6BD8M.99
 

bass

Most Featured
I have caught cobia when I visited my brother in Florida years ago. They are an awesome fish. They are just another predator though. They exist in average numbers in the Atlantic. They are not some amazing super predator, just another predator. I love how every small thing has to become a catastrophic event of biblical proportions.

Researchers reported that bass spilled his coffee on his shirt. They are afraid they do not know the full extent of the damage. One researcher was quoted as saying, "If the stain sets it could be there forever, perhaps crippling the ability of the shirt to be worn in public." Researchers further warned to be on the lookout not only for bass (a known coffee spiller) but also to be on the alert for other coffee spillers. "We have no idea how widespread this problem is, nor have we been able to even begin to understand the social and economic impacts".

Researchers did assure us that they are seeking local and federal funding to further study this potentially devastating epidemic.

Donald Trump responded to the incident by stating that they should build a wall around bass. Hilary Clinton countered by saying that we should do whatever Bernie Sanders says, but that she was going to say that first.
 

ChezJfrey

Well-known member
LOL bass, nice!

Oh, BTW, bass are known to be invasive...just sayin' your invasiveness is already established ;)
 

Aervax

Most Featured
Can you send them a note warning that we already have 1.8MM invasive Shad swarming around the mouth of the Columbia River during early summer. If the Cobia were to show up at the wrong place and the wrong time there could be an invasive species armageddon.

Come to think of it, my worst school teacher ever as a kid was, Mr. Cobia. I will save that jerks story for some other post.

Fins, blood, entrails, fish poop, invasive species armageddon would all be so unsavory.

On second thought, keep it secret. I can go after grant money for a research paper titled, Effect in the Pacific Northwest of Invasive Cobia on Catch Rates for Indigenous Sockeye, Coho, Chinook, and Sea Run Cutthroat. With the Grant money, I will hire myself to fish all day every day for the next 3 years and compile fish catch rate date. At the end of the 3 years, with spreadsheets I spend a week compiling data and writing up the paper. Will any of you credentialed fish biologists help me with the grant writing and referrals? I am going to need big names attached to the grant request in order have any chance of getting my career change funded by invasive Cobia. Kick backs are negotiable depending on how many letters are behind your name.

TANNER: What kind of discount can I get for booking you 36 months straight?
 
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wils

Active member
They’ve since been detected off Colombia and Panama......
The cobia have been migrating north at a rate of about 200 miles per month......

and he added that water conditions will be prime for their arrival in Southern California this summer
.

Milton must not have passed math. or geography. or both


 

JonT

Member
They won't survive here (or anywhere off the West coast). Their normal migration route is through the Northern Gulf of Mexico and warm southern Atlantic. They won't be able to take the cold Pacific. I used to guide for them out of Pensacola. Great fighting fish, great eating and sight fishing, but no worries. If they were to have migrated here, they would have done so naturally already.
 

bass

Most Featured
LOL bass, nice!

Oh, BTW, bass are known to be invasive...just sayin' your invasiveness is already established

He is also voracious when it comes to fried chicken from the Lake Stop.

Ha, that would have been an even better joke! I am an invasive species from Pennsylvania and I voraciously devour the fried chicken at the Lake Stop store, displacing native Oregonians in the process. Even worse is that I have reproduced since I moved here and thus have contributed to the weakening the native Oregonian gene pool.
 

ChezJfrey

Well-known member
I am an invasive species from Pennsylvania and I voraciously devour the fried chicken at the Lake Stop store, displacing native Oregonians in the process. Even worse is that I have reproduced since I moved here and thus have contributed to the weakening the native Oregonian gene pool.

Uh oh. I'm reluctant to admit that one of my long-time friends is also from Pennsylvania...and he's also reproduced twice. They are taking over! But wait, I suddenly remember, I'm an invasive Californian and I've reproduced three times with a native Oregonian. Oh wait, she's born Oregonian, but her mother is native Hawaiian...maybe I'm/we're the problem too! It's an epidemic for sure. But since I'm an invader, I'm gonna stay the course and continue our takeover...who's with me?
 

bass

Most Featured
Uh oh. I'm reluctant to admit that one of my long-time friends is also from Pennsylvania...and he's also reproduced twice. They are taking over! But wait, I suddenly remember, I'm an invasive Californian and I've reproduced three times with a native Oregonian. Oh wait, she's born Oregonian, but her mother is native Hawaiian...maybe I'm/we're the problem too! It's an epidemic for sure. But since I'm an invader, I'm gonna stay the course and continue our takeover...who's with me?

I with you CJ! Reminds me a bit of the old debate: Are there really any true natives left or is everything in the river compromised :)
 
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