H-ARROYO GRANDE

Feb 8, 2013 8:51 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Environmental effects to flushing fish down the toilet

A new study shows that dumping your fish down the toilet or in the ocean may have serious environmental repercussions. The report, out of University of California, Davis, said more than 11 million marine life, meant for aquariums, are being imported into Los Angeles and San Francisco ports. The report also said those non-native fish can wreck havoc on the ocean's natural species.

Mike Roese, owner of Coastal Aquariums in Arroyo Grande, said fish flushed down the toilet likely wouldn't survive past the sewer treatment plants, to make it to the ocean. But, fish from aquariums that are thrown directly into the seat, that is when, according to the study, we have a problem.

Lisa Needles, a San Luis Obispo invasive species specialist, said, "Any non-native species can become invasive, and then thereby affecting the native species that are in that area."

For example, the study highlights the lionfish, a predatory fish that is being imported into California waters, when it shouldn't be here.

"They're eating the smaller fish which aren't growing into bigger fish, and then they're away a whole generation and potentially wiping out gobies, and some other smaller fish species," said Roese.

If people need to get rid of their scaly friends, Roese said people should not flush them down the toilet, or dump them into the ocean's waterways.

Roese said, "The best thing to do is to you know, bring your fish to a local fish store, give them to them. Sometimes they'll give you credit if you're moving and you need something for somewhere else."

The study also said predatory lionfish could live in waters that are down to 10-degrees Celsius, which means they could have a potential to live and reproduce in our local waters, thereby affecting our local native species.

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