LANSING,Mich.(WLNS) – This summer there’s an aquarium fish called Pacus, imported from overseas, popping up in some Michigan waters. That’s because pet owners are releasing them into the wild and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources wants people to know the move is illegal and there are consequences.
“They have teeth you know like human like teeth so it’s scary for an angler if they find one right away,” said Nick Popoff with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
In the past month, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has had three reports of Pacus in Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair.
“We wanted to use this as an opportunity to resend the message there are other options to release your pet, it is illegal,” said Popoff.
Many owners dump their pet fish in lakes and rivers
Popoff says that could have deadly consequences.
“A lot these animals come completely different environments where they have built up anti-bodies for various viruses and diseases where our fishes in the great lakes might not have that,” said Popoff.
Rick Preuss with Preuss Pets in Lansing says releasing a non-native species into the wild isn’t humane.
Preuss says instead donate to a local pet store, aquarium or zoo.
“All you are doing is you are putting that fish to its death. Bringing them in to stores like us is giving your fish an extra life,” said Preuss.
For pet owners who can no longer take care of a pet, Preuss says there’s a local program called Ripple. Reduce Invasive Pets and Plant Escapes.