Microplastics Statement

The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership does not have its own statement regarding microplastics at this time. We will provide as much information and guidance as we can as this science area develops.

Concern regarding microplastics in the environment may arise due to the use of plastics in artificial fish structure. The American Fisheries Society, the oldest professional society of fisheries science professionals in the world, recently updated its statement regarding microplastics, which we will share below. We welcome open conversation regarding this contentious topic, as it is a reality that microplastics exist and derive from anthropogenic sources.

Southern Division American Fisheries Society Reservoir Technical Committee

Position Statement on Micro Plastics

Updated December 2022

Increased use of plastic-based artificial fish habitat structures for aquatic habitat enhancement projects has prompted concerns on behalf of the public and professional fisheries managers regarding microplastic contamination. Fisheries professionals have long been actively involved in aquatic habitat restoration and enhancement efforts to maintain or improve habitat quality for the benefit of fish communities and anglers. Use of artificial structures has afforded fisheries managers and partners with reliable, sustainable options to develop and restore degraded fish habitat in public and private water bodies. Several companies provide high-quality, effective artificial habitat structures that are commercially available. Biologists and anglers alike have been making a variety of “home-made and designed” structures that have also proven effective in providing structural habitat. Artificial (plastic) habitat structures have demonstrated greater longevity than comparable natural materials (i.e., wood brush piles) while effectively providing fish cover and foraging areas in addition to improving angler catch rates. The potential risks of microplastics entering aquatic systems from the use of these structures are unknown but are thought to be minimal because these structures are typically comprised of high-density materials and are deployed at depths where degradation processes are minimized. Current studies investigating microplastic in freshwater systems have identified various single-use plastics and clothing as being primary sources of microplastics. However, we recommend continued evaluation/scientific studies of the use of artificial fish habitat structures to ensure habitat enhancement efforts meet the ecological needs of fish and recreational communities while having minimal impact on the aquatic environment.

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