Some Lake Erie bull

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Editor’s Note: This is a satirical column to celebrate the upcoming April Fools Day. We hope you enjoy!

The various wildlife resource agencies which surround the Great Lakes have always had an interest in providing a diverse aquatic environment as well as commercial and sport fishing opportunities for their constituents. The influx of invasive fish species such as the round goby, white perch, sea lamprey, Eurasian ruffe and alewife have affected how the lakes are managed.

Concerned with the future of these invaders’ growing numbers, and the inability of current fish-eating species to keep up with their potentially explosive populations, some agencies may be exploring the idea of introducing a more voracious fish to the ecosystem.

A study group is being considered to look at the most likely possibilities. The Consortium of Returning Aquatic Piscivores will study potential candidates that may be suitable to fresh water and capable of trimming some of these unwanted fish populations.

“While walleye, perch and bass do a pretty good job in Lake Erie — it seems that the salmon and trout in most of the other Great Lakes aren’t interested in this foreign food,” said Isaiah Ballonie, the group’s spokesperson. “While we’ve considered pinnacle predatory fish like adding additional musky and northern pike, they aren’t quite as aggressive as you would think. We are currently exploring the idea of introducing a euryhaline species that may have historically fed on these fish.”

A euryhaline fish can thrive in both salt and fresh water allowing them to be extremely adaptable which gives them a broad ability to hunt.

“This is the type of predatory fish to consider,” Ballonie added. “Many of these invasives in our Great Lakes are also adaptive to both fresh and salt water so an introduced species may have already eaten them. Currently, we are looking at one particular fish that may do well in the big lakes: the bull shark. It’s very fortunate that my brother, Lotta Ballonie, is a marine biologist and can help greatly in any future stocking efforts.”

Bull sharks are known to travel far up freshwater rivers, having been documented as far up the Mississippi River as Alton, Illinois – about 700 miles from the ocean. This ability has resulted in the bull shark having many localized names, including Ganges River shark, Fitzroy Creek whaler, Van Rooyen’s shark, Lake Nicaragua river shark, freshwater whaler, estuary whaler, Swan River whaler, cub shark and shovelnose shark.

“We know that some might have concerns about introducing the bull shark,” Isaiah Ballonie went on. “That’s understandable since Australian research suggests that it’s near the top of their list of most dangerous animals in their country. Of course, we don’t have that many surfers on the lakes.”

If you have an interest in learning about bull sharks in the Great Lakes, visit www.sharksinfo.com/bull-sharks-in-great-lakes.

I’ll let you know if either Isaiah or Lotta Ballonie contact me about their efforts with the Consortium of Returning Aquatic Piscivores (CRAP). In the meantime, have a great April Fool’s Day!

“A sense of humor is the ability to understand a joke — and that the joke is oneself.”

— Clifton Paul Fadiman

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Jim Abrams was raised in rural Columbiana County, earning a wildlife management degree from Hocking College. He spent nearly 36 years with the Department of Natural Resources, most of which was as a wildlife officer. He enjoys hunting, fly fishing, training his dogs, managing his property for wildlife and spending time with his wife Colleen. He can be reached at P.O. Box 413, Mount Blanchard, OH 45867-0413 or via e-mail at jimsfieldnotes@aol.com.

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