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Round Goby (Apollonia melanostomus)

The round goby (Apollonia melanostomus) poses a serious threat to North American aquatic ecosystems, with potential impacts on sport and commercial fishing. Since its discovery in the St. Clair River in 1990, this bottom-dwelling fish has rapidly spread to many areas of the Great Lakes. Once established, populations typically increase quickly. The round goby can displace native fish, eat their eggs and young, take over optimal habitat, spawn multiple times a season, and survive in poor quality water — giving them a competitive advantage.

Anglers, commercial fishermen, and fishery professionals should know how to identify the round goby. Often, anglers are the first to discover round gobies because these aggressive fish are commonly caught by hook and line. Your help to report new sightings and to prevent their spread is vital.

Identify Round Goby

General Characteristics

  • No other native fish in the Great Lakes has the single pelvic fin
  • Young are solid slate gray
  • Usually 3-6 inches (7-15 cm) long, may be up to 10 inches (25 cm)

What You Can Do

Follow Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Laws:

  • Clean all aquatic plants, animals and mud from watercraft, trailers, docks, lifts, anchors and other recreational equipment before leaving access.
  • Drain water-related equipment (boat, ballast tanks, portable bait containers, motor) and drain bilge, livewell and baitwell by removing drain plugs before leaving water access. Keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait, worms and fish parts in the trash.

Also Recommended:

  • Do not release fish or crayfish from one body of water into another.
  • Spray watercraft and equipment with high-pressure water, or
  • Rinse with very hot water, or
  • Dry for at least 5 days.

Report New Sightings — note exact location; freeze specimens in a sealed plastic bag; and call a Minnesota DNR Invasive Species Specialist (see www.mndnr.gov/invasives/contacts.html), 1-888-MINNDNR or (651) 259-5100; or the Minnesota Sea Grant Program in Duluth, (218) 726-8712.

Know the Rules!

Specimens are needed to confirm sightings, but some jurisdictions prohibit possession and transport of invasive aquatic plants and animals. Contact your local natural resource management agency for instructions. Unauthorized introduction of plants, fish, or invertebrates into the wild is illegal. Protect your property and our waters.

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This page last modified on May 04, 2016     © 1996 – 2016 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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