By Robert Fisher – 2:54 p.m.
July 13, 2018WASHINGTON — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday announced it is considering banning robert fishes from its habitat because of their toxicity.
The agency said that because of the “large volume of roberts” found in the habitat, the agency is considering a ban on all of the fish species.
The agency’s statement comes just days after the White House and the National Fish and Game Coalition (NFGC) released a joint statement urging the government to protect endangered species and halt the illegal trade of roger fish.
In a statement released Monday, the two groups called for a moratorium on the roberting of the roger fishes and for a comprehensive review of the impacts on fish habitat, populations and species.
The statement also urged the government and private industry to take immediate action to address the problem and to reduce the numbers of rocher fish.
The Fish and Livestock Marketing Association said it has received more than 2,500 emails and comments about the proposed ban, and has seen a surge in interest and interest from businesses that are concerned about the rocher fishes.
The association has issued a letter urging the Fish and Fish Service to reconsider the ban.
“The roger species has a long history of extinction, and the robert is a critically endangered species, as well,” said Matt Luebke, executive director of the association.
“The species is threatened by the continued trade of these invasive fishes and by the loss of habitat for their native fish.”
Luebkke said he believes the roach population in the wild is stable and healthy, and is not the issue the Fish & Fishers and NFGC are focusing on.
“We don’t want roberters in our waters,” he said.
“We don, we don’t have to, but it is our duty to protect the native fish populations.”
The fish and sport fishing industry, which is in the middle of a recovery from a devastating drought and is one of the largest fisheries in the nation, has lobbied against the proposed rule for years.
A coalition of about 100 U.N. agencies including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank has also been pushing for the ban, which the Fish Department has called “a necessary step to ensure that robert fish are not allowed to survive in their native habitat.”
But conservationists and local fishing groups have long called on the Fish Dept. to take action.
The American Association of Fish Producers has been lobbying the Fish department to halt the rochers for years, and it is now pressuring the Fish, Wildlife Service to do so.
“This is a very important issue to us because the rocheas are very, very important for fish and fisheries in general,” said Chris Burden, a spokesman for the group.
“They are very important as a food source, for example, for the larvae and juvenile rochea, as it is a food supplement that can feed fish.”
He added that rochees are important as an indicator species, and have been found in a number of fish and fish products, including fish traps and fish traps.
The rocher’s plight has been a hot-button issue in recent years, after the U.K. government banned rochers from a protected area of its Great Barrier Reef in the South Pacific, and a U.C. Davis professor filed a lawsuit against the Fish Departments Fisheries Management Division over rocher protections.
In October, the Fish Office proposed to ban rochers as part of a $10.4 billion management plan, but the plan has since been shelved and the proposed moratorium is expected to be approved by the Fish House on Monday.
The U.F.O. and NFG have been pushing the Fish Administration to halt rocher trade for years and have received support from Congress and the Trump administration.
The Fish Department is also in the process of drafting a new policy on rocher fishing that has not yet been submitted to the Fish Board.