Fish out of water Aquarium dumping has become a common practice in the United States and elsewhere, and it's taking a toll on native wildlife. A recent reporton California's aquarium trade found that fish owners and importers are introducing hardy, nonnative aquatic species to California waters. "Globally, the aquarium trade has contributed a third of the world's worst aquatic and invasive species," Williams, who was lead author of the report, told OurAmazingPlanet, a sister site of LiveScience, in January.
While the exact number of aquarium owners dumping fish is unknown, scientists know the practice is occurring because these species could not have ended up in these waters naturally. Between 20 percent and 69 percent of fish keepers surveyed in Texas admitted to dumping, according to Williams.
Other ways that invasive species find their way into natural ecosystems include aquaculture, live seafood, live bait, and fishing and recreation vessels. More than 11 million nonnative marine organisms representing at least 102 species arrive at ports in San Francisco and Los Angeles alone, Williams has found.