The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Fish Division hosted two workshops on identification of invasive fish species for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office and for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s Law Enforcement Committee.

“The support of partners like the University of Michigan helps the service and our other resource partners deliver an effective early detection and monitoring program for non-native species in the Great Lakes,” wrote Scott R. Koproski, project leader for the USFWS Alpena office, in a letter to Doug Nelson, collection manager of fishes at UMMZ.

“A critical element of our early detection and monitoring program is having the ability to recognize any non-native species we encounter during our assessments,” the letter continued. “Your sponsored workshop allowed my staff to examine first hand specimens of fishes from around the world which I believe has greatly increased our capacity to carry out our program. Your expertise, willingness to bring out other specimens not on our list during the workshop, and the nice tour you gave of the collections made for a great experience for my crew. Feedback from my staff has been very positive and everyone felt it was a valuable experience.

“This workshop is an excellent example of the value of supporting and maintaining museum collections and the experts needed to catalog them for the benefit of the public. My hope is that together with partners like you and your colleagues, we can prevent the introduction and establishment of any new exotic species.”

“The workshop focused on invasive carps, minnows (Cyprinidae) and snakeheads (Channidae), and was supplemented by specimens of invasive mollusks supplied by the Mollusk Division,” said Nelson. “The GLFC attendees described their visit as extremely useful and productive and are considering a return visit to examine additional fish species.”

Dr. Kevin Wehrly, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, organized the GLFC event and co-taught the workshop. Dr. Stephen Hensler organized and co-taught the USFWS workshop. Nelson provided specimens and co-taught the workshops. The March and April 2015 workshops were held at the Varsity Drive facility for about 35 participants. EEB graduate student Mariana Valencia Mestre was involved in event set up and photography.

The GLFC was founded in 1955 to coordinate fishery research, conservation and invasive species control efforts among U.S. and Canadian agencies at multiple levels of government. The USFWS Fisheries Program has played a vital role in conserving America's fisheries since 1871, partnering with states, tribes, federal agencies, other service programs, and private interests in efforts to conserve fish and other aquatic resources.