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Unfortunately, State of MA stocks pond again with rainbow trout. What a shame.

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

The State of Massachusetts again stocked White Pond with rainbow trout, according to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's website. Friends of White Pond (FOWP) is disappointed by this decision. In what could have been an easy win for the ecological stability of White Pond, the State has decided to lean towards an easy loss.

A letter received by the FOWP from Jason Stolarski at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife rejected the science available showing that rainbow trout feed on zooplankton, which in turn help to keep down incidences of toxic algae blooms. The letter can be found here. We fail to understand why though, if the science even suggests that rainbows are harmful, the State would not move in another direction like brown trout for stocking White Pond? It seems simple to do, and yet the State is choosing what could wind up being a more destructive road. That's a real shame.

Stolarski and FOWP agree that the science is not conclusive about the relationship between rainbow trout and toxic algae blooms. There is not enough research on ponds in the northeast to prove out the case, and there have been no necrological studies we know of on rainbow trout eating patterns to draw a linear conclusion. But there are studies from other regions and observed evidence that suggests the relationship.

As the summer goes on and the rainbow trout grow, we may have yet another real-world test case to see what the impact of stocking White Pond with rainbow trout will be yet again. Tracing the exact causality will again be impossible - a new summer bring new weather patterns and harmful nutrients, and the positive effects of the A-Pod treatments may be an important offset. But if you weigh all the plusses and minuses, we'd have to put the rainbow trout into the minus category.

If the State is serious about pond protection, the only right decision going forward is to skip the rainbow trout. There are other fish to stock ponds with that aren't as specifically problematic, as best we understand the situation. The State should make this simple decision as not just helpful, but obvious.

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