Invasive fish, like other non-native plant and animal species, hurt the local environment mainly by competing with or preying on native wildlife species. For example, when canals connecting the Great Lakes to rivers that run to the ocean opened up a passageway for new fish species to enter the lake, it allowed parasitic sea lampreys to make their way to the Great Lakes. Sea lampreys now prey on native fish species, and have severely damaged populations of some lake fish. Invasive fish often are introduced to a body of water by accident, like the lampreys. Sometimes, however, they are introduced on purpose – either to stock a lake with “game fish,” or when people release aquarium pets into the wild. In any case, invasive species have serious potential to damage populations of native fish.
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