Eco-Bigotry and “Native Fish Restoration”

Writing in the journal Nature, a team of 19 researchers called on conservationists to stop bad-mouthing introduced species, and accept the fact that ecosystems will increasingly be a melting pot of “long-term residents and of new arrivals.”

The controversy, coined “eco-bigotry” has been addressed in two follow-up articles in Conservation Magazine. The researchers said that in the past few decades, ‘non-native’ species have been vilified for driving beloved ‘native’ species to extinction and generally polluting ‘natural’ environments.”

On one side of the argument is the futility of attempting to return ecosystems to some arbitrary “historic state.” On the other side is the negative ecological and economic impacts created by the proliferation of certain non-native species.

One program that would fall squarely under the umbrella of this controversy is “native fish restoration.” Native fish restoration is a program state fish and wildlife agencies use to repopulate streams and rivers with more desirable, native game species. It’s a common approach in the West to poison mountain streams to eliminate one introduced species of trout, usually brook trout or rainbow trout, to save another, native trout usually a particular subspecies of cutthroat trout.

The tragedy of this method is that the poison kills not only the target species, but also non-target species of fish, amphibians, and insects, with the intent of preserving one, preferred species. Eco-bigotry is a great way to describe this approach. Read the two articles in Conservation Magazine:

Read more about river killing:


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