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Bio-invasions and bio-fixes: Mysis Shrimp introductions in the twentieth century.


Between 1949 and the 1980s, fisheries managers transplanted the tiny Mysis relicta shrimp into hundreds of lakes and reservoirs in North America and Europe. They hoped to create self-sustaining food for fish. However, most of these experiments failed spectacularly, destroying the fisheries they were intended to bolster. The mysid introductions can be viewed as a 'biological fix', or 'bio-fix', akin to technological fixes. Fixes are solutions to complex social or environmental problems, but the solutions are conceived in an unsystematic and partial way. This makes the solutions appear cheaper and easier than they are and can result in failure and unintended consequences. The mysid introductions illustrate the bio-fix concept. Biological solutions to fisheries problems arose because technological solutions (fertilisation, hatcheries) were impractical or inadequate. Self-reproducing organisms appeared to solve those problems. Changing technology, growing ecological knowledge and the apparently successful introduction of mysids in several lakes made mysid introductions seem cheap, easy and enormously beneficial. But the fervour for mysids masked the many uncertainties and contradictions in knowledge about mysids and their role in ecosystems. Mysids were often not edible by the fish they were intended for. More troublingly, they competed for food with those fish, ultimately causing the collapse of fisheries. Fisheries managers subsequently tried to revive, reassess or reinvigorate large technological solutions, such as dams and fertilisation, to save fisheries, but this was not usually successful.


Invasive species, bio-invasions, techno-fix, bio-fix, fisheries, lakes, salmon, mysis, mysid, opossum shrimp

Between 1949 and the early 1980s, fisheries managers transplanted Mysis relicta shrimp into hundreds of lakes in North America and Europe. (1) They hoped to create self-reproducing food for fish. However, these experiments often failed spectacularly, destroying the fisheries they were intended to bolster. Most infamously, at Flathead Lake, Montana, the shrimp torpedoed the popular kokanee salmon fishery and helped push the bull trout onto the threatened species list. The effects reverberated beyond the lake shore. The fall runs of kokanee into Glacier National Park had attracted the largest concentration of bald eagles in the United States. But when the kokanee evaporated so, too, did the eagles. As went the eagles, so went thousands of tourists who came to see them (Figure 1). (2) Flathead's mysis crisis emerged just as the US Office of Technology Assessment was completing a prominent report on invasive species. (3) Published in 1993 as Harmful Non-Indigenous Species in the United States, the report became one of the most influential texts on invasive species. Because the mysid effects were fresh, well-documented and dramatic, the OTA used them as a cautionary tale of the far-reaching effects of invasive species. The OTA report, along with subsequent research and popular coverage, has made the mysid fiasco one of the key stories about invasive species. From eminent invasion ecologist Daniel Simberloff to Indian activist Vandana Shiva, the story of mysids has been told and retold in hundreds of texts. (4)

Despite this attention, there are many questions about mysid introductions, their historical context and their broader meaning. In this article, I boil the shrimp story down to three questions. First, why did people introduce mysids? Second, why did people not foresee problems with their introduction? And finally, more broadly: what can the mysid story tell us and about how and why we try to reshape our environments with biology and technology?


One way to think about mysid introductions in a broader sense is to conceptualise them as biological fixes, akin to technological fixes. Technological fixes are attempts to use technology to solve complex social or environmental problems. Studies of technological fixes, or 'techno-fixes', have been richly generative of ideas about the framing, deployment and unintended consequences of technological solutions. Here I argue that we can extend the notion of fixes beyond technology to biology. So what exactly are these fixes, and how are bio-fixes distinct from techno-fixes? (5)

The term 'technological fix' originated with Alvin Weinberg, a nuclear physicist, who suggested in 1966 that we 'identify "Quick Technological Fixes" for profound and almost infinitely complicated social problems.' The essence of the technological fix, Weinberg later put it, was that it could solve a 'societal problem by adroit use of technology with little or no alteration of social behavior'. The fix Weinberg had in mind was nuclear power, which would supposedly provide super-abundant, clean energy--energy that could then solve a number of problems like water and food scarcity. Although Weinberg did not go as far as the 1950s Atomic Energy Commission chairman who claimed nuclear energy would be 'too cheap to meter', he did argue it would be 'extremely cheap.' Moreover, nuclear power would obviate much of the need for what Weinberg called 'social engineering', including conservation and regulation. (6) Social scientists subsequently adopted Weinberg's term and have basically used it as he did. The difference is that they have imbued it with an inherent critique. Fixes have been cast as a subset of solutions that, if not invariably ill-fated, are likely to fail. Why? Because, as Thomas Hughes put it, fixes are 'partial, reductionist responses to complex problems', responses that 'fail to take a systems approach.' For that reason, they do not work out the way their architects plan. Since they are conceived simplistically, they initially appear to be cheap and easy to implement. But they often bear grievous and costly surprises. (7)

Biological organisms are often used to achieve ends in the same way that technology is, and to the extent that they are simplistically conceived solutions whose benefits appear to greatly outweigh the costs implementation, we can think of them as bio-fixes. In this sense, they are analogous to techno-fixes. But there is also a qualitative difference between techno-fixes and bio-fixes. In contrasting these fixes, I am not suggesting that biology and technology are separate. Much recent work in environmental history and the history of technology has perforated the boundary between 'nature' and technology, and between biology and technology, leaving us with a more nuanced understanding of how these are interwoven. Fixes contain a mixture of technological, social and biological components. A classic techno-fix, the fish hatchery, for example, employs a lot of technology, but it also requires people (so is social) and fish (so is biological). (8) However, lumping everything together as bio-tech or enviro-tech hybrids does not, as Paul Sutter has argued, 'always offer analytical or normative clarity'. (9) What are the useful distinctions we can make in looking at the vast mishmash of the world? Have we moved to an ontology where nature, culture, biology and technology are merely rhetorical terms to be analysed? Or are they still useful analytical terms themselves? Are hybrid environments and hybrid objects literally the product of nature and culture, or biology and technology, as the word 'hybrid' implies? Or is 'hybridisation' just a metaphor?

In carving out a place for the term 'bio-fix', I argue that there are some important distinctions we can make between biological organisms and technology. Biological organisms have properties that human-built products have not been able to duplicate, especially self-reproducibility. Techno-fixes may have 'momentum' or path dependency--meaning that once in place, material and cultural factors make these technological systems durable and tenacious--but they cannot reproduce themselves without humans. Bio-fixes can self-reproduce, and this accounts for their unique appeal as well as their unique problems. (10)

In what follows, I show how the mysid introductions illustrate the characteristics of bio-fixes. This brings me back to my first two questions: why were mysids introduced and why did people not foresee problems with them? In the first section, I describe how mysid introductions grew out of a late-nineteenth century search for bio-solutions to fisheries problems. Technological solutions like hatcheries and fertilisation were inadequate or impractical, but self-reproducing organisms appeared promising. In the second section, I describe how improvements in technology and ecological knowledge made the introduction of mysids cheaper and easier. Soon thereafter, the apparent success of the mysid introduction at Kootenay Lake, British Columbia dramatically increased the appeal of these introductions. In the third section, I describe how knowledge about mysids that might have mitigated against introductions was lost, distorted, simplified or left unused. In other words, I describe how the mysid solution was simplistic, reductionist and unsystematic.

Analysing the mysis shrimp story through the bio-fix lens adds to the proliferating histories of invasive species by focusing on the interplay of biological and technological solutions, and why these solutions can go wrong. Most of the recent histories of invasive species have focused on how people perceived these species after they were introduced. Scholarship has been especially strong in exploring the links between attitudes toward invasive/exotic species and attitudes toward human immigrants. (11) Similarly, historians and philosophers of science have questioned whether terms like 'exotic' and 'invasive' actually reflect biological realities, rather than cultural or economic values. (12) While space precludes delving into these themes here, I hope to take them up in the future.

This article is more in line with another strand of invasive species history: explaining why people introduced organisms. One fertile topic here has been the 'acclimatisation movement', wherein nineteenth-century European colonists sought to establish familiar, Old World organisms in the New World. Historians have also looked at the rise of natural resource agencies and the sweeping intra- and inter-continental introductions of fish and wildlife they carried out from the late-nineteenth century on. (13) Although these studies have examined why agencies introduced organisms, they do not usually frame their research questions to ask what went wrong with the decision-making process. (14) Moreover, they do not usually compare and contrast the introduction of biological organisms with technology. There is a good reason for this: In many of the cases, the organism was an end in itself. Acclimatisers who introduced the English sparrow wanted an English sparrow. Fish and game departments that introduced salmon wanted salmon. There was no alternative, particularly no technological alternative. But this was not always the case. Many introduced species were a means to an end. Mosquitofish were introduced to kill mosquitoes and ultimately curb malaria. Plants were used to control soil erosion. Predators were introduced to control crop pests, and forage species were introduced to provide food for livestock--both with the ultimate end of increasing productivity. In this sense, these organisms were more like the technologies deployed for the same ends: DDT, erosion fences, pesticides and chemical fertiliser. Historians have focused less on these instrumentalised introductions, and, outside the small but important historical literature on biological control, they have not explicitly compared biological and technological solutions. (15) That is what I do here.

A final current in the history of invasive species has been to examine their effects, a theme I conclude with. This approach goes back to the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby, who showed how transfers and invasions of Old World biota--diseases, plants and animals--assisted in the colonial expansion of European powers. (16) Other studies of invasive species have examined their effects on property regimes, social movements and ecological systems. (17) In my conclusion, I examine how the fallout from mysid introductions shifted the impetus back to technology as a more compliant, if not cheap, solution to problems--including the problems caused by mysis shrimp.


In the summer of 1949, Peter Larkin went to Waterton Lake, Alberta, where he scooped through the cold, mountain lake water, filling metal cans with thousands of the small, translucent mysis shrimp. He packed the cans in ice and taxied them over the continental divide to Kootenay Lake, British Columbia, where he released the shrimp (Figure 1). Over the next year, Larkin and other workers for the BC Fish and Game Commission transferred more mysids in the hopes of providing food for rainbow trout. Then they waited. It would be over a decade before they saw changes in Kootenay Lake, changes that would spur the transplantation of mysids into many other fisheries in the world in the 1960s and 1970s. But as catalysing as Larkin's experiment was, biological solutions to fisheries problems were already an old idea by the 1940s. (18)

In general, technological solutions have dominated efforts to improving fisheries since around 1870, when the United States and Canada developed their fish agencies. These agencies had two goals: To improve and create fisheries. To achieve these goals, they used regulation, but they threw most of their weight behind a technological solution: hatcheries. (19) Almost all of the US Fish Commission's $298,000 appropriation in 1891 went to hatcheries. The Canadian agency had about a third as much money, but most of it went to hatcheries, too. These hatcheries were prolific. In 1891, North America the hatchery systems produced over a billion

and half fish. More hatcheries were added in subsequent years, especially as state governments in the US developed their own agencies. (20)

The hatchery system had problems, however. One of the most important for late-nineteenth century fish culturists was the expense and work of feeding fish in hatcheries. This problem became more acute as fisheries scientists argued for keeping fish past the fry stage to fingerling size or bigger. Although hatcheries had become very good at turning out lots of fish, dumping thousands of helpless fry into water with too little food and too many predators was not a recipe for success. Letting hatchery fish get larger, culturists hoped, would give them a better chance of survival. But procuring fish food--chopped liver, curdled milk, coagulated blood and macerated brains--for that extra time increased food costs exponentially. One culturist calculated that it would cost more to raise one trout to be a year old than it would cost to raise a hundred fry. (21)

One solution to the fish culture 'food question' was to make use of 'natural' or 'self-reproducing' food. These phrases came from Frank Mason, the United States consul to Switzerland. In the 1880s, Mason urged members of the American Fish Culture Association to consider the efforts of some European fish culturists who used fresh water shrimp (and other small organisms) for cheap, self-reproducing fish food. Other AFCA members claimed to have experimented successfully in this area, but many questioned whether it was practical for large hatcheries. (22)

Interest in natural food extended beyond hatcheries to planted fish. Critics not only charged that managers released fish that were too small, but that they released fish into waters lacking food. Self-reproducing food could help make raising fish cheaper, but it could also help increase the survivability and sustainability of planted fish. Frank Mason, among others, suggested this, but the biggest proponent was a fish culturist named Nelson Cheney. Cheney reported on some initial transplants like this in England and New York. In New York, someone (it is not clear who) put 18,000 crayfish in a lake. In another case, someone transplanted crustaceans from Ohio to Caledonia Spring Creek, which then became famous for its 'well-conditioned trout'. (23)

Looking toward the extensification of fisheries in the inland West, the issue of adequate nutrients and organisms for cultured fish loomed even larger. Surveys sent out west by the US in the late-nineteenth century included ecologists like Stephen Forbes, who could survey the small organisms of lakes and streams. (24) Forbes' surveys certainly turned up fish and fish food in the waters of the West, but many experts concluded these waters were less productive than those in the East. One believed there should be a 'general law' to stock western waters with the 'proper kind of food'. (25) Another suggested that freshwater shrimp plants could 'make hundreds of trout streams' where there were not any now. (26)

Despite some initial experimentation, and some compelling arguments for a biological solution to fisheries problems, managers did not pursue them with any vigour in the early twentieth century. One reason was inadequate knowledge. In 1921, the US Bureau of Fisheries published a guide to the introduction of organisms for fish food, which would theoretically be a 'boon of inestimable importance'. Among other things, the guide proclaimed that 'the most common and most widely distributed species are the forms most easily transported and adapted to the widest range of conditions and uses'. This emphatically did not include Mysis relicta, which 'would hardly seem of practical utility in fish cultural establishments, as may be inferred from its known habitat and habits'--namely, living in the depths of the Great Lakes. Despite providing some systematic guidance like this, the report reinforced the uncertainties of biological solutions. It reiterated that little was known about what organisms would be good for food and how organisms would respond to local conditions. The guide noted strong economic impediments to transplants. (27)

In the following decades, experts expressed more interest in a technological solution to the problem of food deficient waters: fertilisation. Fertilisation increased food for fish by increasing nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen that, in turn, allowed greater production of plankton. More plankton could feed more fish, or some intermediate fish food like crustaceans or small fish. Both Europeans and Americans used fertilisation extensively in carp culture, and Americans also experimented with other warm water fishes, especially bass. Practitioners discussed theories about which nutrients were most important, what forms of fertiliser were best (e.g., animal matter versus soybean meal versus inorganic phosphate) and what methods were most economical. But, as with bio-solutions, fertilisation was based on a thin understanding of aquatic ecosystems. Although fertilisation was an ancient practice in fish culture--extending back thousands of years in China, for example--effective practices were particular to places and species. For North Americans looking to initiate and amplify fisheries, especially cold water fisheries in big lakes, fertilisation was a gamble. It was not clear that it would work, and it was expensive. (28)

Places with abundant, low-productivity waters naturally struggled the most with trying to find technological and biological solutions to the fish food problem. Canada had these waters in abundance. In Canada, the effort to deal with fisheries in low nutrient lakes was assisted by the intertwining of fisheries and limnology science in the 1930s and 1940s. The limnologist-fisheries scientists hoped their studies would yield fundamental and practical findings. These hopes moved fisheries management toward an ecological approach to fisheries problems. (29) Researchers at Dalhousie, for example, used radioactive tracers to study nutrient flows and also concluded that lake fertilisation was not practical. Other researchers studied food chains and lake morphology in relation to fish planting. (30)

The rising influence of limnology in fisheries science in Canada was accompanied by political and economic pressure to change management practices. In the 1930s and 1940s, the hatchery system came under attack from sport-fishers and biologists, such as W. A. Clemens, who argued that hatchery practices were often wasteful and unscientific. (31) Funding changes also pushed culturists to make sure plants were working. The creation of licensing systems in the early twentieth century shifted much of the funding for the operation of hatcheries to sport license revenues. This meant that the expansion and preservation of hatchery operations depended on the number of people who fished and thus on the quantity and quality of the fisheries. In the mid-twentieth century, sport-fishing started rivalling commercial fishing as the most important constituency of fisheries agencies. Discontented sport-fishers thus hit fisheries department in both their ears and their pockets. (32)


It was in this context that W.A. Clemens first proposed mysid introductions in North America. In 1939, Clemens reported on the 'fish cultural problems' of Lake Okanagan, a low-productivity, or 'oligotrophic', lake. The most productive parts of the lake--the shorewaters filled with aquatic invertebrates--fed fish that were not commercially or recreationally desirable. One solution was to introduce a desirable fish that would use the shallows. But the shallows were not big enough to support a commercial fishery. On the other hand, there were no game fish that could subsist entirely on aquatic invertebrates. Game fish became piscivorous as they matured, and Clemens did not know how that would affect the lake ecosystem. Given this uncertainty, he advised against it. Likewise, he advised against poisoning unwanted fish to enhance trout populations because the effects were uncertain. (33)

Clemens instead suggested increasing food for whitefish in the open waters of the lake. Whitefish were commercially important in other lakes, but in Okanagan whitefish numbers were low because of the 'total absence of deep water shrimp-like forms such as Pontoporeia and Mysis.' Nearby Waterton Lake had these, however. Thus Clemens suggested that a transplant might support a viable whitefish fishery. Importantly, Clemens explicitly rejected introducing shrimp for kokanee or rainbow trout, game fish also present in Okanagan, because he understood these shrimp to be 'deep water' species that would only benefit deep water fish (such as whitefish). Clemens' suggestions for Okanagan thus hinged on specific knowledge of the lake and its species, and his suggestion was cautionary with regard to destroying or introducing species when the effects of those actions were unclear. (34)

But when Lake Okanagan did get a plant of mysids in 1966, they were introduced to boost the kokanee fishery. What changed? In a name, Kootenay Lake.

In the 1940s, the BC Game Commission, under pressure to improve fisheries, divided its fish cultural activities into two parts. One would be the operations arm. The other would be the scientific arm. Demand for scientific input had increased in the late 1940s, requiring a permanent staff and larger budget. In 1948, biologist Peter Larkin assumed control of the scientific arm, the scope of which included studying fish food problems. (35)

Larkin's 1946 thesis had investigated the ecology of mysids in northwestern Canada, and he eagerly leveraged this knowledge into practical applications. (36) In 1948, he published an article advocating the introduction of mysids into low productivity lakes to augment their 'sparse bottom fauna'. Like Clemens, Larkin noted the importance of mysids to the diet of whitefish. But instead of creating commercial whitefish fisheries, Larkin hoped that more whitefish would provide food for recreationally important lake trout. In addition, mysids would contribute directly to the diet of lake trout, especially juveniles that fed extensively on crustaceans. Thus the rationale combined the objectives of increasing bottom fauna and providing a missing link in the food chain of young lake trout. (37) The following year, Larkin carried out his experiment in transplanting mysis shrimp into Kootenay Lake from Waterton. The target species was not lake trout, however, but rainbow trout. Larkin hoped the mysid introduction would speed up the growth of juvenile rainbow trout, which grew slowly in Kootenay. (38)

It was over a decade from the time of Larkin's mysid plant to the first signs of an effect in the early 1960s. When the effect was noticed, it was on kokanee, not trout. In the 1950s, kokanee rarely weighed over a half a kilogram. In 1962, spring surveys yielded kokanee that were one to 1.5 kilograms. In the fall, when Larkin tried to collect kokanee during spawning, he struggled to fit many in his 45 gallon drums. The largest was almost 3.5 kilograms. Sportfishers also started catching huge kokanee, especially out of the West Arm of the lake. Mysids 'crammed' the bellies of these kokanee. Fishermen started tying imitation mysid flies, and the West Arm became so popular that the ferry had trouble navigating around the fishermen. (39) Larkin quickly began working on a report, eventually published in 1964 with the title 'Successful introduction of Mysis relicta Loven into Kootenay Lake, British Columbia'. By 'successful', the authors meant that mysids had been established in the lake. Larkin's report emphasised that the rationale for introductions was to provide food for young rainbow trout transitioning to piscivores, but also reported that they had found mysids in kokanee, whitefish, rainbow trout and Dolly Varden trout. They concluded that 'preliminary observations suggest that there have been marked effects on the growth rate of rainbow trout and kokanee'. (40)

It was the kokanee fishery, however, that was clearly flourishing in the early 1960s and which flourished the most in the next few years. Kootenay had been a famous rainbow trout fishery since the early 1900s, with kokanee caught incidentally by sportfishers. But as kokanee numbers and sizes increased--a fisherman caught the world record there in 1968--kokanee became the focus of the fishery. Sportfishers caught a few hundred kokanee annually in the 1950s, but by the middle of the 1960s they netted up to 50,000 in a year, the vast majority of the fish catch. By the end of the 1960s, the now predominantly kokanee fishery was worth $5.8 million (about US$80 million in current dollars). (41) The thriving fishery attracted international attention, as did the mysid introduction. The temptation of such an apparently simple, inexpensive way of improving kokanee fisheries proved irresistible for many fisheries managers.


Well before the success at Kootenay Lake in the 1960s, however, fisheries managers in the United States and Sweden considered and then carried out the introduction of mysids. In Sweden, hydro-development was a particularly important catalyst while in the US (as in Canada) the rise of sportfishing was particularly important. In these countries the target fish species were not initially kokanee. Proposals to introduce mysids arose not only independently and prior to the Kootenay Lake success, but usually independently of each other.

As in Canada, Sweden's many low productivity waters predisposed it to look for biological solutions. Unlike Canada, it had a small coast and so focused heavily on inland fisheries. (42) In the early 1910s, scientists from Scandinavia began suggesting the introduction of fish food organisms, and as early as 1910 the Norwegian zoologist Knut Dahl suggested Mysis relicta as candidate. (43) These suggestions continued for the next few decades when Swedish scientists took them up. Sweden brought its sophisticated scientific institutions to bear on fisheries, drawing heavily on limnologists, just as Canada did. In 1948, the Swedish Institute of Freshwater Research (IFR) stated that its goal was to increase the fish yield by investigating the fish food of lakes and rivers. The Institute considered the poisoning of unwanted, or 'coarse' fish and fertilisation, though the latter was not clearly economically feasible. The IFR also hoped to enrich the 'lower fauna' of lakes. Of particular interest were mysids, which were associated with rapid trout growth. The shrimp made use of the 'only slightly productive deep zone' and the IFR thought they could work for whitefish and Arctic char (the latter a relative of trout). (44)

The IFR considered mysid introductions in 1949, but it took mounting problems with dams to catalyse introductions. (45) Having little coal or oil, Sweden aggressively pursued hydropower. While the country had ample water, it did not have much vertical relief to create fast flowing rivers. Instead, Sweden built big reservoirs and used large drawdowns (up to 35 metres) to generate enough power. (46) Dams obstructed fish runs and harmed their spawning beds. They dried out or froze bottom fauna, and they inundated them with sediment. (47) By the mid-1950s, Swedish fishery management was in crisis-mode about the 'extremely rapid rate' of hydro-development, resulting, among other things, in an estimated sixty per cent reduction in food organisms. (48) In 1954, the IFR made its first introduction of mysids and lake trout into Lake Storsjon, whose brown trout and Arctic char fishery had declined as a result of dam operations. In the next seven years, IFR scientists introduced mysids (and other organisms) into six impounded lakes in Sweden. The plants took years before mysid populations were noticeable. By 1965, the IFR had developed reliable methods for collecting and transporting mysids, but still could not claim a successful introduction. The successful introductions in North America in the 1960s, however, egged the IFR on. (49)

Swedish biologists rationalised and assessed mysid introductions in various and sometimes changing ways. As in the work of Clemens and Larkin, mysids were initially suggested as a way to increase food for bottom feeding fish like whitefish and char. As dams became a bigger problem, the rationale shifted to amending problems with hydro-development. By the early 1970s, experts had further refined their rationales. Mysids were good candidates, IFR scientists argued, because they were not dependent on the shoreline waters that experienced disruptive fluctuations. (50) In addition, because mysids migrated to the surface at certain times, they could bring energy from the bottom to the surface where brown trout, who were not bottom feeders, could access them at night. (51) After the first successful mysid plants in Sweden in 1966, successful introductions increased. By the early 1970s, about fifty had taken place. In 1972, the IFR reported that brown trout and char in some reservoirs were using mysids, providing a 'satisfactory compensation' for hydropower problems. More introductions followed, bringing the total to 61 in 1981, fifty of which resulted in established populations. (52)

Fisheries experts in the US trailed Canadians and Swedes in turning to mysids, but only by a few years. Colorado carried out the first introduction in 1957, followed by Minnesota and California (Figure 2 and Table 1). Other states also considered introductions. In the US (unlike Canada and Sweden) scientific guidance on introducing mysids initially came from biologists outside of fish and game departments. Robert Pennak, a world expert on freshwater invertebrates at the University of Colorado, first suggested mysid introductions to Colorado state officials in 1951. Later in the 1950s and early 1960s, Alfred Beeton, an expert of Mysis relicta at the University of Michigan, served as a co (53nsultant for managers interested in mysids.)

As in Canada and Sweden, the objective in the US was to increase the fish food in low-productivity waters. Managers characterised the targeted waters as lacking plankton, being 'sterile', or, in the case of Lake Tahoe, a 'biological desert'. Their target fish was the lake trout. Lake trout were native to the Midwest and Northeast. In the West, people had planted lake trout in many waters decades before. Fish experts looked to pair lake trout and mysids due to the extensive evidence that lake trout depended heavily on mysids. (54)


From the late 1940s to the early 1960s, therefore, scientists and managers in several different states and countries converged on the idea of planting mysids in oligotrophic waters. This interest developed independently of knowledge of other introductions, including the eventually famous introduction at Kootenay Lake. While the mysid introductions grew out of a long-standing interest in using self-reproducing organisms, the context had clearly changed. What made this time ripe for bio-solutions, and mysid solutions in particular? There was, as stated, more pressure on fisheries managers to enhance or fix fisheries because of increased recreational fishing and/or problems with dams. But these pressures did not necessarily determine any type of solution. Why did managers start to look more seriously at biological solutions?

On reason was that technological solutions were inadequate for many fisheries, especially those in low-productivity, western and northern lakes. As noted above, hatcheries and fertilisation had issues early on. In the post-war years, however, criticism mounted and new problems made these technological solutions even less satisfactory. Criticism of hatcheries, or 'artificial propagation', increased as both scientists and the public saw it as expensive, ineffective, unempirical and increasingly out of touch with the desires of recreational anglers. As early as the 1920s, fish culturists had taken a broader view of what made fish culture successful, considering fish disease, hatchery food and environment and transportation methods. Some also recognised the need to assess habitat. Nevertheless critics in the 1930s and 1940s were unsatisfied. One AFSA member claimed that fish were 'reared, put out, and forgotten', while a journalist charged culturists dealt in 'paper fish'--the fish created on the books in hatchery production--and not on survival percentages. To increase survival, the journalist suggested better assessments of the food in waters where fish were released. (55)

Managers were slow to respond to these criticisms. In 1954, fisheries scientists from both Canada and the United States were still complaining that artificial propagation of many fish species persisted 'in the face of literally scores of experimental demonstrations of its lack of value'. (56) Pressure came from anglers but also from the increasing ranks of biologists in state agencies. After World War II, the Dingell-Johnson Act funded fisheries agencies to study habitat. Not surprisingly, scientists found that habitat mattered to healthy fisheries. (57) In Montana, for example, studies concluded that the key to good fisheries was to maintain quality habitat, not simply stock more fish. (58)

The spectre of wasteful hatchery programmes loomed large in the inland American West where sparse populations and remote lakes increased transportation costs. 'The point has been reached in fisheries management where a hard look must be taken at allocation of the fisheries management dollar', the director of Montana Fish and Game wrote in 1964. Fish hatcheries were the biggest budget expenditure, he noted, but it was apparent that many waters had 'reached the point where additional hatchery fish do not improve fishing enough to justify the additional cost'. (59)

Not only was artificial propagation ineffective in many cases, it was potentially harmful. A 1962 Montana study showed 'decisively that indiscriminate stocking of cold, infertile mountain lakes is not only wasteful but damaging'. Over-stocking caused debilitating contests among fish over scarce resources. Disease was also a problem, adding to the cost of raising fish and the hazards of introduction. Like the genetically-simplifying and crowded breeding regimes of the livestock industry, hatchery conditions yielded devastating diseases in the 1930s and 1940s. In the post-war period, hatchery management became more scientific, but managers were still far from solving those problems. These diseases could spread to wild fish populations when managers introduced hatchery fish. This latter problem dovetailed with another demerit of the hatchery system: by the end of the 1950s, anglers began showing more interest in wild stocks, both because they believed the fish 'fought better' and because they came to value fish that were native to their area more. In 1959, anglers organised Trout Unlimited to push fish managers to put more emphasis on wild fish (and later native fish) and habitat rather than fish stocking. (60)

Of course, one way to address some of the problems of putting too many fish in low-productivity waters was to increase the productivity of those waters through chemical fertilisation. Early fertilisation attempts had little scientific evidence to guide them, but in the 1930s, this practice became more empirically-based. In Europe, fish culturists found fertilisation successful and economically viable, and it became a standard practice in the first half of the twentieth century. In the US, studies looked to combine fertilisation with the introduction of fish food organisms. However, the strongest empirical work was done for pond culture of warm water species like bass and carp. (61) Managers of cold water lakes in the western and northern North America, however, were naturally interested in fertilisation. After all, these lakes had even fewer nutrients than warm water ponds. In 1941, the Montana Fish and Game Commission argued that low-productivity mountain lakes needed fertilisation to increase the food supply for fish. (62)

The expense, impracticality, ineffectiveness and drawbacks of fertilisation, however, edged it out of the running as a technological solution for most low-productivity lakes. In the 1940s and 1950s, scientists in the US carried out fertilisation experiments in oligotrophic lakes in California, Michigan and other places. But their findings were very similar to what the Canadians and Swedes found: evidence for improvement was at best ambiguous. And fertilisation was expensive, requiring a perpetual, often annual, investment. As with hatcheries, costs went up considerably for remote lakes. Studies in the US joined those in Sweden and Canada in concluding that fertilisation was either impractical or too expensive. This was especially true of large lakes. Moreover, fertilisation, like over-stocking, could be detrimental to fisheries. Some studies found that fertilisation benefited unwanted fish species. The death knell was the rising concern with eutrophication in the 1960s that was caused by sewage, detergents and other pollutants. Affected waters bloomed with unsightly algae, whose decomposition choked off the oxygen for other organisms. Thus the oligotrophy of waters became something to be protected, rather than improved. (63)

Environmental concerns, as well as concerns of efficacy and cost, helped kill another technological solution: poisoning of coarse fish. In the pre-war era, fish poisoning yielded some effective results but, W.A. Clemens pointed out, 'only small seepage lakes lend themselves to such a practice'. In the United States, managers had also tried poisoning, but rarely assessed the effects. After the war, coarse fish poisonings expanded in Canada, Sweden, and the United States. Some applications were successful, although coarse fish often survived and rebounded years later. Poisonings were not easy to carry out, requiring extensive coordination and monitoring of weather, water temperature, currents and fish species. These difficulties were magnified in large and remote bodies of water. In the 1960s, environmental concerns cut off much of the enthusiasm. One big experiment on the Green River in Colorado caused enormous public backlash, including a letter from Rachel Carson who had recently published Silent Spring (1962), her scathing criticism of chemical-heavy resource management. (64)

All of these solutions, both technological and biological, had the potential to be used in conjunction. They were more often seen as complements than alternatives. But as technological solutions appeared more troubling, biological solutions appeared more appealing. Especially for cold water lakes, technological solutions like fertilisation and fish poisoning were marginalised after the 1950s. Artificial propagation continued, but with a reduced role and the acknowledgment that it alone could not enhance fisheries in low-productivity lakes. Against these problematic technological solutions, the introduction of little shrimp seemed environmentally innocuous, even natural. (65)

Increasing knowledge and decreasing costs further magnified the appeal of mysid introductions. At the same time that studies were calling into question the efficacy of technological solutions, scientific studies of Mysis relicta made introductions seem more empirically sound and attainable. In the 1950s and 1960s, limnologists showed definitively how important mysis shrimp were for lake trout and whitefish. Mysid experts like Beeton could provide considerable information on the behavior and ecology of mysids, and he gave advice to managers who wanted to plant these shrimp. (66) These scientists also developed reliable and less expensive methods for collecting, transporting, storing and releasing shrimp. Larkin and Beeton investigated temperature and light tolerances for the shrimp--valuable for both transporting and planting--while Furst investigated methods of acclimating shrimp to new waters. Both Larkin and Furst developed trawls and methods of trawling that were reliable at catching a creature that was notoriously elusive due to its love of the deep, dark regions of lakes. (67)

More generally, the declining cost of airplanes and refrigerated transportation made transplants more viable. Early plants entailed little more than a thermos and a car. But this method was tenuous for longer trips and could not accommodate large-scale introductions. In the early 1960s, California biologists flew mysids from Waterton Lake, Alberta and Green Lake, Wisconsin to carryout out a massive plant at Lake Tahoe--an endeavour described as 'surprisingly easy.' Later they used a 'refrigerated fish planting van'. When plants became successful, they could serve as broodstock for further plantings. Kootenay Lake, among others, was used this way. But it was Twin Lakes, Colorado that was the most fecund, serving as the source for at least 57 lakes in at least four states. (68)

By the time new populations of mysids were being used as broodstock in the 1960s and 1970s, the context of mysid introductions had changed again. After 1965, a trickle of scientific articles, and a gushing of newspaper articles, heralded the successful establishment of mysis shrimp in Kootenay Lake and its apparent role in churning out vast numbers of large kokanees. If knowledge and technology had helped reduce the costs and uncertainties of mysid introductions, the prospect of re-creating the Kootenay Lake fishery dramatically increased the apparent benefits.

Idaho was the first state to introduce mysis shrimp primarily to improve its kokanee fishery. In the 1960s, Idaho fisheries managers were frustrated with problems in fisheries resulting from hydro-development, hatchery operations and the difficult problems of optimising sportfishing in the large lake and reservoirs, which the state had in abundance. The state initiated a programme to study the ecology of these lakes and reservoirs to learn how to increase production. This yielded a 1965 plan, clearly influenced by Kootenay Lake, which aimed to use the mysids as an 'important link in the food chain' for game fish, especially kokanee. By 1969, Idaho had introduced mysids into twelve natural lakes and two reservoirs, releasing over four million shrimp. These lakes included Idaho's biggest and most prestigious inland fisheries, including Priest, Pend Oreille and Coeur D'Alene Lakes. (69)

Other states and provinces with kokanee fisheries also made enthusiastic introductions. Montana had help from an old hand at mysid introductions: Robert Schumacher. Schumacher had been the scientist who had successfully planted mysids in Minnesota for lake trout in the early 1960s. In Montana, however, he targeted kokanee. In 1968, Schumacher carried out his first plants with mysids from nearby Waterton Lake, planting the shrimp in Whitefish Lake and several other lakes in the Flathead River basin. More shrimp plantings in the Flathead basin followed in 1975 and 1976. (70) All told, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and British Columbia introduced mysids to about fifty lakes in the 1960s and 1970s for kokanee.

Not quite as dramatic, but also important, were reports from Colorado in 1969 that mysids had become established and were providing food for lake trout. Subsequently Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Maine started planting mysids for lake trout in the 1970s. Other states and Canadian provinces tried introducing mysids for rainbow trout. North Carolina gave it shot for both trout and bass food. Although these did not target kokanee, the dramatic stories coming from Kootenay Lake helped to invigorate interest in transplants of all kinds. (71)

For many people, the hopes of improving fisheries with mysis shrimp appeared to be underway in the 1970s. The sustained, large plants of mysids had resulted in established populations in many lakes in as short a time as five or six years. The stomach contents of lake trout and kokanee showed the fish were making use of the shrimp. And fish were getting bigger. Sportfishers broke state records for lake trout and kokanee. No lake appeared to be closer to catching the star of Kootenay Lake than Priest Lake, Idaho. As with Kootenay Lake, Priest Lake had been a world-class trout fishery, yielding the world record lake trout in 1951. In 1942, the state introduced kokanee to provide forage for lake trout, but the kokanee subsequently became the most popular fish for anglers in the 1950s. After the mysis plants began in 1965, the kokanee got bigger, attracting even more attention. The state record was quickly broken--doubled, in fact--and in 1975 a fisherman caught the world record kokanee. (72)


Dreams of lakes teeming with world record fish were short-lived, however. Surveys of Priest Lake and Lake Pend Oreille in the early 1970s failed to turn up mysids in kokanee bellies. By 1975, kokanee numbers were in serious decline in both lakes. Biologists soon found that two species of zooplankton the kokanee fed on were also in decline. The year before, California biologists also found that two important species of zooplankton had disappeared from Lake Tahoe. Shortly thereafter, Tahoe's kokanee fishery withered. Scientists began to converge on a general explanation for these troubling changes: Mysis relicta itself was a zooplankton predator. It competed with kokanee for zooplankton. This might not have been a problem if the kokanee could then eat the mysis shrimp. But while both mysis shrimp and kokanee lived in the open waters of lakes, kokanee fed by light near the surface whereas mysis avoided light only coming near the surface at night (Table 2). Moreover, very young kokanee, who fed on the same zooplankton as mysis, were not big enough to eat mysids. Although kokanee occasionally ate mysids, they were primarily a competitor, not a food source. Mysis introduction thus did precisely the opposite of what fisheries experts hoped: it reduced food for kokanee. (73)

These bedeviling problems with fisheries were eventually visited upon Kootenay Lake itself. In the early 1970s, studies began showing declines in zooplankton and by the end of the decade the famous kokanee fishery had completely collapsed. But why had the mysis introduction apparently enhanced the kokanee fishery there for over a decade and a half? Scientists turning to this question in the 1990s gave two explanations. First, kokanee were able to eat mysids in the West Arm due to a unique aspect of the lake's hydrology. A sill separated the West Arm, which was also the outlet, from the rest of the lake. At night, when mysids surfaced, surface currents drag the mysids over the sill into the relatively shallow and somewhat turbulent West Arm. So there were many more mysids there and they were more available to non-surface feeding fish. In addition, upstream pollution--literally a fertiliser plant--increased the nutrients in the lake. This fertilisation offset some of the negative food chain effects of mysids. But when the fertiliser plant closed, reducing nutrient inputs, the food chain effects of mysids escalated, causing the kokanee fishery to collapse. (74)

In Montana, the kokanee fishery at Whitefish Lake collapsed in 1976. Much more troubling, however, was the discovery that mysids had drifted downstream from Whitefish Lake and had become established in Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in the West. After biologists found mysids in the lake in 1981, they held out hope that the mysid effects might play out differently in Flathead Lake. But it was not so. Over the next few years, the population of mysis shrimp in the lake exploded, destroying the kokanee fishery--the most important fishery in the region. In 1985, fishermen caught about 50,000 kilograms of kokanee. In 1987, they caught zero.

Virtually all of the kokanee fisheries where mysids were introduced experienced decline in and after the 1970s. Mysids introduced into Sweden's fisheries also caused declines. Concern developed into crisis, and fisheries scientists called for a moratorium on mysid introductions in 1980. But there was little they could do to stop mysis populations that were already successfully established. (75)


What went wrong?

Historians who have analysed the judgments and decisions surrounding environmental and technological disasters have frequently targeted excessive optimism as a root cause. Invasive species historians have picked up on this theme. For example, Glenn Sandiford argues that 'optimism bias' caused proponents of carp introduction to the United States to overestimate the benefits of carp and underestimate its risks. Why do people have this bias? Sandford draws on psychological science to argue that optimism bias is an inherent part of human nature that manifests in public policy as an 'exaggerated hope' about big projects and technologies. Edward Tenner likewise views some of the problems with technologies and introduced organisms as resulting from excessive optimism. For Tenner, however, 'technological optimism' was a cultural paradigm that was particularly strong in the United States from the 1860s to the 1960s. (76)

While this line of analysis has been fruitful, I do not pursue the 'excessive optimism' angle here for several reasons. First, while optimism bias might be a long-lasting cultural paradigm, and even an inherent facet of human nature, these broad brushstrokes do not allow us to explain the great variety of optimism and pessimism in individuals or agencies. Second, related to this, it is not clear how optimism bias operates when there are several options to be optimistic about--especially if those options are alternatives. (77) The story of inland, cold-water fisheries is illustrative of this. Fish and game managers were optimistic about hatcheries, fertilisation and organisms for forage food at different times. Many lost optimism with hatcheries in the 1950s and 1960s, well within Tenner's era of technological optimism (not to mention Sanford's trans-historical time frame).

Moreover, in the case of mysis shrimp, the bigger issue was the problem of lost and unsystematised knowledge rather than the problem of knowledge evaluation. One can weigh the apparent risks of, say, nuclear power and come out an optimist or a pessimist (shaped, as Sandford and Teller argue, by psychological and cultural biases). But one cannot be overly optimistic (or pessimistic) about unknown risks. Put another way, there is a distinction, as Langdon Winner has argued, between 'unintended consequences' (which we do not know about) and 'not intended consequences', which we can imagine but might discount. (78) In this story, it was unintended consequences, not poorly evaluated consequences that were not intended, that were the problem.

For these reasons, I focus on problems of knowledge leading to the mysis crisis. This was also what the public and experts focused on in the wake of the crisis. They sought to understand why no one had foreseen the disastrous problems with mysid introductions. What did experts know? What could they, or should they, have known? What might have been different?

One possibility was that fisheries managers did not know about the vertical migration patterns of mysids that made them unavailable for kokanee. In 1980, for example, a Montana fisheries scientist explained that 'because the shrimp spend most of their time in the very deep portions of any lake, few of them ever fall prey to kokanee. Unfortunately, this wasn't known until after Mysis had been planted in other lakes.' (79) A 2014 review in Bioscience similarly argued: 'Because diel vertical migration was already well known for mysids at the time (e.g., Beeton 1960), this outcome [kokanee not being able to feed on mysids] could have been predicted had the details of the shrimp's natural history been recognized.' The lack of recognition, the Bioscience authors argue, was one example of the pernicious decline of natural history among interest groups and resource managers in the last fifty years. (80) But these explanations are simply wrong. Knowledge of mysid vertical migration was pervasive among fisheries experts who collected mysids for transplanting. Mysid migration was even discussed in popular venues (Figure 3). (81) Clemens suggested mysids for whitefish precisely because whitefish fed on the bottom, and Larkin suggested them for lake trout for the same reason (Table 2).

The miracle at Kootenay Lake, however, swept all of this food web theory aside, reducing the growth of kokanee to a simple cause-effect relationship with mysids. The simplification arose out of the way scientists and journalists presented the story, foregrounding success and backgrounding or eliminating uncertainty and alternative explanations. This began with Larkin's 1964 paper on the 'success' at Kootenay Lake. The article mentioned that Clemens had suggested introducing these mysids in 1939 as a 'partial solution for fish cultural problems'. But Larkin did not detail Clemens' rationale, and so erased the specific recommendation that mysids be planted for whitefish, which fed on the bottom, and not for kokanee, which did not (and so presumably would not benefit). Larkin's conclusion also exceeded its data, stating that 'preliminary observations suggest that there have been marked effects on the growth rate of rainbow trout and kokanee'. While the researchers provided data on kokanee that showed increased growth, none was provided for trout. And, indeed, subsequent studies never found any 'marked effects' on trout growth. (82)

Another piece of knowledge that might have forewarned against mysid introductions concerned the unique hydrology of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake where the kokanee miracle took place. As scientists pointed out in the 1990s, this unique hydrology made the Kootenay Lake an 'inappropriate mysid model' for introductions. But this hydrology, and its effect on kokanee, were known long before kokanee fever took hold. One of Larkin's students, E.H. Vernon, published a study in 1951 showing that the kokanee in the West Arm were bigger than the rest of the lake. Vernon also described the sill separating the West Arm from the rest of lake and concluded that it would 'probably have a profound effect on abundance of food for kokanee'. Larkin cited Vernon in his article, but made no mention of the unique hydrology of the West Arm that suggested a complex relationship between kokanee, fish food, and lake hydrology. (83)

For the next two decades, articles on mysid introductions further transformed and simplified the story told in Larkin's article. Articles, both academic and journalistic, rarely looked at original sources like Clemens and Vernon. These sources, which would have contradicted and problematised a simple story about mysid introductions and kokanee growth, were lost until much later. Articles also left out key details. They almost never reported that the original target of Larkin's mysid introduction was trout, not kokanee. Articles also dropped the cautious 'preliminary observations' phrase in Larkin's conclusion, so that it became a fact that the size of kokanee and trout had increased and that mysids were solely responsible. (84)

At the same time, the dramatic story of Kootenay Lake came to overshadow the longer, multi-origin history of mysid introductions, which were usually carried out for lake trout--a fish with considerably different feeding habits from those of kokanee. In California, the rationale and discourse surrounding mysid introductions shifted from a focus on lake trout to a focus on kokanee. The first reports of mysid introductions discussed them only in relation to trout, specifically lake trout, but by 1967 biologists suggested they had been introduced for lake trout and 'possibly other game species'. The following year, biologists stated that, if mysids became established in lakes, those lakes might be stocked with rainbow trout, steelhead or silver salmon. By 1971, biologists were hoping that the recent establishment of mysids in Lake Tahoe would allow kokanee sizes to increase because the shrimp provided a 'previously unavailable energy source' for kokanee. The initial trout rationale for mysid introductions was thus eclipsed by the excitement over kokanee. (85)

In these ways, uncertainty and dissonant theories about using mysids for kokanee were muted. The total effect of this simplification and loss of knowledge was to foster a relatively seamless narrative of science yielding a unique intervention that works out exactly as planned--and at almost no cost.

What of knowledge about mysid predation on zooplankton that suggested that the introductions might backfire? A 1973 publication definitively showed mysids to be zooplanktivorous, but it was well-known as a possibility before that. Some experts believed mysids only ate detritus or phytoplankton. But many others understood mysids to be zooplanktivores. These included Beeton and Larkin (Figure 4). Oregon managers also characterized mysids as zooplankton eaters. Even newspapers mentioned that mysids ate other animals or zooplankton and that it was a 'predator'. (86) Experts were also aware that introducing new organisms could dramatically change ecosystems. Larkin, among others, had shown that the introduction of forage fish had resulted in competition with the very game fish the shiners were supposed to fatten. But perhaps because managers were preoccupied with whether mysids would become established (not whether they would cause problems), or perhaps simply because they were small, they gave no thought to unintended consequences. (87)

Any one of these pieces of knowledge could have been used to cast doubt on the advisability of planting mysids to improve kokanee fisheries. (88) Synthesised together, these pieces of knowledge would have offered a very good reason to assume the mysid plants might be a disaster, not just a failure. Fisheries scientists, who at this point were well-versed in statistics, might have questioned generalising from a study that had an 'N' of one. But, of course, this did not happen. Instead, the mysid introductions, especially those for kokanee, registered the characteristics of a 'fix': simplistic reductionism and a failure to take a systematic approach. Experts did not consider the ecosystem relations of mysids, such as their dynamic role in the food chain or their interaction with lake hydrology. And experts and journalists glossed over or missed the complexities and uncertainties of mysid effects on kokanee.

In part, this reductionism and lack of a systems approach was the result of many myriad, and mundane, limitations on time and space. Scientific articles could not reproduce every detail of the sources they cited. So while citation of earlier articles sustained past knowledge, it also suppressed it. Newspaper articles were even shorter. And managers were limited in their decision-making time frames. Other factors mattered, too. Scientists wanted to explain things, not wallow in uncertainty. Journalists wanted to tell a good story, not get mired in complexities. And managers wanted to present their interventions in the best possible light.

Missing from all these stocks and flows of knowledge that might have, in some world, been put together to mitigate against mysid introductions, was an attempt to evaluate mysid introductions systematically. In 1960, scientists from around the world formed the Mysid Research Group. The MRG replaced the primitive, informal nodes that had surrounded Beeton and Larkin, and it efficiently disseminated information on mysid introductions, among other things. But while the MRG, along with federal fisheries publications, increased the flow of knowledge about mysids, no reviews or conferences on mysid introduction were created until much later. The first review of mysid introductions was not published until 1975. The next one appeared in 1986. (89) Nor were there effective institutional requirements for review or assessment. Although the National Environmental Policy Act and state equivalents were in effect by the early 1970s, environmental assessments for mysid introductions were not even considered. Because the introductions could be carried out with little funding and personnel, there was often no oversight. In Montana, for example, the Fish and Game Commission deliberated extensively in 1968 about whether it should introduce Coho salmon into Flathead Lake. It ultimately rejected the idea for fear of unforeseen consequences. The year before, the Commission adopted a policy of only transplanting non-indigenous fish 'after careful study to insure they will be beneficial'. But in 1968, Schumacher made the first plants of mysids into Montana waters, with no discussion before the Board at all. (90)

The mysis crisis, therefore, was less the result of an absolute lack of information than it was a failure to convey that information in a way that maintained its complexity and uncertainty. It was less a neglect of natural history than a neglect of the history of ideas about why mysid introductions might make sense based on knowledge about food webs. And it was less a matter of missing pieces of knowledge than a failure to synthesise the extant pieces knowledge. Because important aspects of knowledge were not synthesised or were lost, it was less likely that people and agencies would imagine consequences that might make them question the introductions.


In 2009, two scientists published an article warning that geoengineering interventions that would putatively mitigate against global warming could cause more harm than good. Geoeingeering, they argued, was analogous to past attempts at 'ecological engineering', by which they primarily meant the transfer of organisms. Among their examples were several infamous instances of bio-control gone wrong, as when mongooses, cane toads and the rosy wolfsnail were introduced in various places to control agricultural pests. These introduced organisms, however, preyed on species that were not agricultural pests, and they often spread well beyond the areas they were intended for. Alongside these classic biocontrol stories, the authors used the story of mysis shrimp as an example of the 'dramatic' effects that introductions could have on entire ecosystems. (91)

While the geoengineering article developed a number of interesting analogies between introduced organisms and geoengineering, it gave little attention to an important difference: the self-reproducibility of organisms that made them so attractive as solutions to problems. Self-reproducing mysids were appealing because they seemed easy and cheap in comparison to technological alternatives. Fertilisation required perpetual inputs. It was expensive. It was impractical. It was pollution. Reconciling fish and hydropower was a formidable conundrum; fish usually lost out. Hatcheries had many drawbacks, and they could not solve the problem of low-nutrient lakes on their own. But when mysids later loomed as an interminable disaster, what once seemed like a bargain became a nightmare as managers tried to figure out how to deal with the shrimp. A fix that was once as easy as dumping a thermos of water from one lake into another now seemed far more intractable than the large technological solutions it was supposed to support or supplant.

Initially, some managers held out hope that mysids could be removed. Idaho put commercial trawlers on the Lake Pend Oreille hoping to harvest mysids out of existence. But there were too many kokanee by-catch casualties. Lake Okanagan started a similar programme, which avoided by-catch problems and became economically viable (selling mysid for fish food). But reductions in the mysid population were modest. (92)

At Flathead Lake, mitigation efforts shifted from targeting the apparently indestructible mysid population to targeting the mysid's old cohabitant, the lake trout. Lake trout had been introduced in Flathead Lake in 1905. For eighty years, their numbers had been small. Mysids changed that by providing an excellent food source for them. The result was a 'double whammy', as one biologist put it: mysids competed with kokanee for food, and piscivorous lake trout preyed on kokanee. The native bull trout was also hit hard by lake trout expansion. Lake trout fed on young bulls and competed with adults. Bull trout numbers dwindled, and in 1998 it was listed as a threatened species. To save the bull trout, people pushed for the eradication of lake trout--with nets, bounties and fishing derbies. Lake trout adversaries included native trout enthusiasts and the Salish Kootenai Tribe, who manage half of Flathead Lake, and for whom the bull trout was a culturally important species. Many anglers, however, wanted to maintain the lake trout fishery. It may not have been as good as the glory days of kokanee, they argued, but it was a viable fishery. And they feared that an aggressive intervention in the lake trout fishery would result in yet more unintended consequences. The controversy rages to this day. (93)

Not able to remove mysids, some managers turned to reinvigorating or reassessing large technological projects. A number of places considered manipulating the physical properties of lakes to mimic the upwelling at Kootenay Lake. The practical issues were daunting, however, especially for large lakes. (94) Idaho tried brute force. It built the world's largest kokanee hatchery in the 1980s, ramped up fish production and tried to overpower the mysid effect. Montana also tried increasing fish plants and changing the timing of plants. But these hatchery-based solutions failed. Idaho and Montana also pushed for changes in hydroelectric drawdowns that would benefit fish. This was very expensive and very controversial. To the extent it was instantiated, it also had little effect. (95)

At Kootenay Lake, fisheries managers fell back on a solution that had once seemed off the table: fertilisation. Managers believed that nutrient loss through upstream dams and the removal of the fertiliser plant had combined with mysids to cripple the fishery. Perhaps putting fertiliser back in would help. In 1992 they did just that, dumping eight metric tons of fertiliser into the lake per week. The experiment has been ongoing ever since, and has successfully improved the fishery from its nadir. But it is controversial and expensive. It is the largest lake-fertilisation project in the world. And it must go on forever. Among the unintended consequences of the mysid bio-fix, therefore, was the re-emergence of technological solutions on an even larger scale. (96)

The dance of solutions--and fixes--chosen from across the bio-tech spectrum has gone on in many other cases as well. Similar to mysid introductions, some of yesterday's solutions have become today's problems. Moreover, the new solutions often entail the heavy-handed use of technology and, especially in the case of invasive species, are often advocated by environmentalists who were once highly sceptical of large-scale technologies. For example, plant species introduced to solve problems of forage or erosion control, like kudzu and tamarisk, have gone AWOL and caused ecological and economic damage. The response has been to use herbicides, often on a large-scale basis, to try to eliminate these plants, a solution that some conservationists have embraced. (97) Problems with carp have also yielded ambitious technological projects. Agencies in the US have used massive chemical poisoning and electric barriers on rivers to try to eliminate the spread of carp. Even more ambitious, at the urging of environmentalists the Army Corps considered reversing the flow of the Chicago River in order to keep carp out of the Great Lakes. This has not been carried out, although it remains on the table. Meanwhile, Australians are trying to control carp by using a relatively new form of biocontrol that rests on an inversion of the very appeal of classic biocontrol: self-reproducibility. Called 'daughterless technology', this solution relies on the introduction of organisms that can only have male offspring, thus curbing or even eliminating the ability of the wild population to reproduce. (98)

Thinking explicitly about how and why people have chosen solutions along the biotech spectrum can be revealing. It is a way of understanding the economic and biophysical limits on resource use and management. It can inform us about the state and organisation of knowledge about technology, biology and the environment. It can help clarify how biological and technological 'fixes' emerge. It can tell us about cultural conceptions of what is 'natural' and what is 'man made.' Even more, it reveals attitudes about what people think is possible and controllable through the use of technology and biology. Finally, and most importantly, it reveals a critical hinge--self-reproducibility--in both how people conceive of their control over the environment, and in their actual control over the environment. What once seemed like a solution, even a miracle, can swiftly become a fix--and a curse.


Thanks to Dan Flores, Edmund Russell, Justin McBrien and the anonymous reviewers for improving this article.

(1.) Scientists have recently divided Mysis relicta into relicta and diluviana species. In this article, 'mysis shrimp', 'mysids' and 'Mysis relicta' includes diluviana and relicta. R.T. Dooh et al., 'Comparative Phylogeography of Two North American "glacial Relict" Crustaceans', Molecular Ecology 15 (14) (2006): 4459-75. For an interactive map of mysis shrimp introductions, see Leif Fredrickson, 'Mysis Crisis', Enviro-History, April 2017,

(2.) The most cited scientific study on the Flathead impacts is C.N. Spencer, B.R. McClelland and J.A. Stanford, 'Shrimp Stocking, Salmon Collapse, and Eagle Displacement', BioScience 41 (1) (1991): 14-21.

(3.) The terms 'invasive species', 'exotic' and 'native' are legitimately controversial, as I note later in the introduction. For stylistic reasons, however, I am not scare-quoting or qualifying each usage of these terms.

(4.) Office of Technology Assessment, Harmful Non-Indigenous Species in the United States (DC: United States Congress, 1993), p. 73. The 1993 OTA report was the first assessment environmental science and natural resource management have discussed the mysid introductions. For example, Daniel Simberloff and Peter Moyle, Protecting Life on Earth: An Introduction to the Science of Conservation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), p. 167; Nature's Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems, ed. Gretchen Daily (DC: Island Press, 1997), p. 319;Reed Noss and Allen Cooperrider, Saving Nature's Legacy: Protecting And Restoring Biodiversity (DC: Island Press, 1994), p. 279. Paul Ehrlich, Conservation Biology for All (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 140; Michael Dombeck in From Conquest to Conservation: Our Public Lands Legacy (DC: Island Press, 2003), pp. 84-85. Other discussions include A. Ricciardi and H. Macisaac, 'Impacts of Biological Invasions on Freshwater Ecosystems', in Fifty Years of Invasion Ecology, ed. D. Richardson (New York: Wiley, 2010), p. 215; G. Cox, Alien Species in North America and Hawaii: Impacts on Natural Ecosystems (DC: Island Press, 1999), p. 258; Richard Hobbs, Invasive Species in a Changing World (DC: Island Press, 2000), p. 21; David Willis, Charles Scarlet and Lester Flake, Introduction to Wildlife and Fisheries (New York: Macmillan, 2009), p. 197; Christopher Frid and Michael Dobson, Ecology of Aquatic Management (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 236-237; Chris Bright 'Bio-Invasions', in Lester Brown and Ed Ayres (eds), The World Watch Reader (New York: Norton, 1998), p. 118; Vandana Shiva, Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply (London: Zed Books, 2000), p. 52.

(5.) For a different attempt to extend the fix idea, see Linda Layne, 'The Cultural Fix: An Anthropological Contribution to Science and Technology Studies', Science, Technology & Human Values 25 (4)( 2000): 492-519.

(6.) While nuclear energy was Weinberg's arch techno-fix, he gave other examples, including the intrauterine device. Weinberg was not naive about the problems of technological fixes--he anticipated most of the critiques of social scientists--he just thought techno-fixes were necessary, generally beneficial and not necessarily any worse than social fixes. Alvin Weinberg, 'Can Technology Replace Social Engineering?' Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists December 1966: 4-8; Alvin Weinberg, 'Beyond the Technological Fix', vol. 5, Energy Technology: Challenges to Technology (Oak Ridge, TN: Institute for Energy Analysis, 1978), 1. On 'too cheap to meter', see Michael Huesemann and Joyce Huesemann, Techno-Fix: Why Technology Won't Save Us Or the Environment (Gabriola: New Society Publishers, 2011), p. 146.

(7.) When I use the term 'solution' in this article, I am being agnostic as to whether it is or becomes a 'fix.' Thomas Hughes, 'Afterword', in Lisa Rosner (ed.) The Technological Fix: How People Use Technology to Create and Solve Problems (New York: Routledge, 2004), pp. 208-209. See the aforementioned volume in general for diverse historical takes on techno-fixes. As Hughes suggested in his afterword, most historians saw fixes as 'leaving us in a fix' rather than actually fixing a problem. Other social scientists tend to hold this view as well, but some construe them more positively: Daniel Sarewitz and Richard Nelson, 'Three Rules for Technological Fixes', Nature 456 (7224) (2008): 871-72.

(8.) James Lichatowich calls hatcheries the 'hatchery fix', Salmon Without Rivers: A History Of The Pacific Salmon Crisis (DC: Island Press, 2001), p. 111; Joseph Taylor calls them 'technological panaceas', Making Salmon: An Environmental History of the Northwest Fisheries Crisis (Seattle: University of Washington, 2001), p. 256.

(9.) Susan Schrepfer and Philip Scranton (eds), Industrializing Organisms: Introducing Evolutionary History (Routledge, 2004); Paul Sutter, 'The World with Us: The State of American Environmental History', Journal of American History 100 (1) (2013): 94-119.

(10.) On technological momentum, see Thomas Hughes, Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1993).

(11.) On nativism and invasive species, see Peter Coates, American Perceptions of Immigrant and Invasive Species: Strangers on the Land (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007) and the collection of essays in Ian D. Rotherham and Robert A. Lambert (eds), Invasive and Introduced Plants and Animals: Human Perceptions, Attitudes and Approaches to Management (DC: Earthscan, 2011). Scholars have also deconstructed the martial metaphors--'invasions' and 'wars'--as well as the metaphors of monstrosity that often surround discussions of invasive species. See M.K. Chew and M.D. Laubichler, 'Natural Enemies--Metaphor or Misconception?', Science 301 (5629) (2003): 52-53, and M.K. Chew, 'The Monstering of Tamarisk: How Scientists Made a Plant into a Problem', Journal of the History of Biology 42 (2) (2009): 231-66.

(12.) For philosophy of science approaches to invasive species, see Sarah Johnson (comp.), Bioinvaders (Cambridge: The White Horse Press, 2010). For history of scientific approaches, see the articles in D. Richardson (ed.), Fifty Years of Invasion Ecology: The Legacy of Charles Elton (New York: Wiley, 2011).2011 For the vigorous debates in the scientific community, see, for example, Loic Valery, Herve Fritz and Jean-Claude Lefeuvre, 'Another Call for the End of Invasion Biology', Oikos 122 (8) (2013): 1143-46; Manzoor A. Shah and R. Uma Shaanker, 'Invasive Species: Reality or Myth?' Biodiversity and Conservation 23 (6) (2014): 1425-26; Jacques Blondel, Benjamin Hoffmann and Franck Courchamp, 'The End of Invasion Biology: Intellectual Debate Does Not Equate to Nonsensical Science', Biological Invasions 16 (5) (2013): 977-79; David M. Richardson and Anthony Ricciardi, 'Misleading Criticisms of Invasion Science: A Field Guide', Diversity and Distributions 19 (12) (2013): 1461-67.

(13.) The impetus for acclimatising species in colonised landscapes was not entirely aesthetic or cultural, but it was so in the main. See: Harriet Ritvo, 'Going Forth and Multiplying: Animal Acclimatization and Invasion', Environmental History 17 (2) (2012): 404-14; Thomas Dunlap, 'Remaking the Land: The Acclimatization Movement and Anglo Ideas of Nature', Journal of World History 8 (2) (1997): 303-19. For fish and wildlife agency introductions, see, for example: Leonard Brennan and Fred Bryant, 'Game Animals', in Simberloff and Rejmanek, Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions, pp. 264-270. For inter-continental transfers, see Jerry Towle, 'Authored Ecosystems: Livingston Stone and the Transformation of California Fisheries', Environmental History 5 (2000): 54-74; K.M. Szylvian, 'Transforming Lake Michigan into the "World's Greatest Fishing Hole": The Environmental Politics of Michigan's Great Lakes Sport Fishing, 1965-1985', Environmental History 9 (1) (2004): 102-27; Robert Pringle, 'The Origins of the Nile Perch in Lake Victoria', BioScience 55 (9) (2005): 780-87).

(14.) Glenn Sandiford and Edward Tenner are two exceptions. I discuss their work later.

(15.) For contrasts of biological and chemical control in agriculture, see Paolo Palladino, 'Ecological Theory and Pest Control Practice: A Study of the Institutional and Conceptual Dimensions of a Scientific Debate', Social Studies of Science 20 (2) (1990): 255-81; Richard Sawyer, To Make a Spotless Orange: Biological Control in California (Purdue University Press, 2002). For an implicit contrast of biological and chemical mosquito control, see A. White and G. Pyke, 'World War II and the Rise of the Plague Minnow Gambusia Holbrooki (Girard, 1859) in Australia', Australian Zoologist 35 (4) (2011): 1024-32.

(16.) Alfred Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). For a challenge to parts of Crosby's thesis, see William Beinart and Karen Middleton, 'Plant Transfers in Historical Perspective', Environment and History 10 (1) (2004): 3-29.

(17.) For example, Mark Fiege has looked at how invasive species affected property rights in 'The Weedy West: Mobile Nature, Boundaries, and Common Space in the Montana Landscape', Western Historical Quarterly 36 (1) (2005): 22-47. I analyse how invasive species led to rifts among environmentalists over herbicide use in Leif Fredrickson, 'From Ecocide to Eco-Ally: Picloram, Herbicidal Warfare, and Invasive Species, 1963-2005', Global Environment 7 (1) (2014): 172-217. The ecological effects of invasive species are controversial. See Ashley M. Young and Brendon M. H. Larson, 'Clarifying Debates in Invasion Biology: A Survey of Invasion Biologists', Environmental Research 111 (7) (2011): 893-98.

(18.) Sparrow to Larkin, 7 Aug. 1963; Larkin to Sparrow, 13 Aug. 1963, in Folder 2-10, Box 2, Larkin Fonds, University of British Columbia Archives.

(19.) Christine Moffitt, Gary Whelan and Randy Jackson, 'Historical Perspectives on Inland Fisheries Management in North America', in Inland Fisheries Management in North America, ed. Wayne Hubert and Michael Quist, (Bethesda, MD: North American Fisheries Society, 2010), pp. 5-10.

(20.) N. Borodine, 'Statistical Review of Fish-Culture in Europe and North America', in Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission (DC: GPO, 1894), pp. 193-194; Robert R. Stickney, Aquaculture of the United States: A Historical Survey (John Wiley & Sons, 1996), p. 145.

(21.) Herschel Whitaker, 'Fry Vs. Fingerlings', in American Fisheries Society, Proceedings of the American Fish Culturists' Association (1893): 101.

(22.) Frank Mason, 'Self-Reproducing Food for Young Fish', in BUSFC (1889): 203-206. Discussion of Mason in A.F.S., PAFCA, 64-77.

(23.) Nelson Cheney, 'Food For Fishes', in Nelson Cheney, 'Breeding Natural Food Artificially For Young Fish Artificially Hatched', in BUSFC (1894): 277-279.

(24.) Stephen Alfred Forbes, Preliminary Report on the Aquatic Invertebrate Fauna of the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, and of the Flathead Region of Montana (DC: GPO, 1893). Barton Evermann, 'The Investigation of Rivers and Lakes With Reference To the Fish Environment', in BUSFC (1894): 69-73.

(25.) Cheney, 'Food for Fishes', 22-32.

(26.) Mason, 'Self-Reproducing Food for Young Fish', 64-77.

(27.) US Bureau of Fisheries, Fresh-Water Crustacea as Food for Young Fishes (DC: GPO, 1921).

(28.) H.S. Swingle and E.V. Smith, 'Fertilizers for Increasing the Natural Food for Fish in Ponds', Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (hereafter, TAFS) 68 (1) (1939): 126-35; John Maciolek, Artificial Fertilization of Lakes and Ponds: A Review of the Literature (DC: US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1954); J. Willemsen, 'Fishery-Aspects of Eutrophication', Hydrobiological Bulletin 14 (1-2) (1980): 12.

(29.) Stephen Bocking, 'Fisheries and Fundamental Science: Donald Rawson's Studies of Lake Productivity', Scientia Canadensis 14 (12) (1990): 39.

(30.) Donald Rawson, 'A Brief Account of Research in Limnology and Fisheries at the University of Saskatchewan', Oct. 1951; Ronald Hayes to Clemens, 17 Nov. 1951; 'Work Carried Out at Dalhousie University in the Fields of Limnology and Freshwater Fisheries Research'; K.H. Doan, 'Symposium on the Present Status of Freshwater Research in Canada, Research by the central Fisheries Research Station' Ottawa, 3 Jan. 1949 all in Folder 6-8, Box 6, Clemens Fonds, UBC Archives.

(31.) Angler, 'Ontario's Fish Hatcheries II: Some Defects', and 'Ontario's Fish Hatcheries III: Need of Research in Fish Culture', Toronto Star, 24 Feb. 1934; Miller to Clemens, 22 Oct. 1951, all in Folder 6-8, Box 6, Clemens Fonds.

(32.) Anders Halverson, An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), pp. 80-81; Moffitt, Whelan and Jackson, 'Historical Perspectives on Inland Fisheries Management in North America', 24-25.

(33.) W.A. Clemens, D.S. Rawson and J.L. McHugh, A Biological Survey of Okanagan Lake, British Columbia (Ottawa: Fisheries Research Board of Canada, 1939), pp. 51-52.

(34.) Ibid., p. 52.

(35.) Larkin, 'Summary of Investigations Conducted by the Fisheries Research Group Attached to the British Columbia Game Department in 1949', Report of the Provincial Game Commission, 1951, p. 56; Butler to Hey, 9 Nov. 1949, File7, Box 28, GR 1027, Fish and Wildlife Branch, British Columbia Archives.

(36.) Larkin, 'Pontoporeia and Mysis in Lakes of the Canadian Northwest: A Study of Their Ecology, Biology and Economic Importance in Great Slave Lake and Lake Athabaska' (Thesis, University of Saskatchewan, 1946), 119.

(37.) Larkin, 'Pontoporeia and Mysis in Athabaska, Great Bear and Great Slave Lakes', Journal of the Fisheries Resource Board of Canada (hereafter, JFRBC) 78 (1948): 1-33.

(38.) Larkin, 'Summary', 56, 60. Larkin also transferred Pontoporeia to Kootenay Lake but it was never established.

(39.) Larkin to Calhoun, 2 Oct. 1963, Folder 2-10, Box 2, Larkin Fonds.

(40.) Larkin was not the lead author of this article, but for simplicity I refer to it as his paper. R.H. Sparrow, P.A. Larkin and R.A. Rutherglen, 'Successful Introduction of Mysis relicta Loven into Kootenay Lake, British Columbia', JFRBC 21 (5)(1964): 1325-27.

(41.) T.G. Northcote, Some Impacts of Man on Kootenay Lake and Its Salmonids (Ann Arbor: Great Lakes Fishery Commission, 1973). Value calculated using

(42.) William Dill, Inland Fisheries of Europe (Rome: FAO, 1993), pp. 180-212.

(43.) Furst, 'Experiments on the Transplantation of Mysis relicta Loven into Swedish Lakes', Reports of the Institute of Freshwater Research (hereafter, RIFR) 46 (1965): 69-87.

(44.) Sven Runnstrom, 'Director's Report for 1948', RIFR 29 (1949): 3, 9.

(45.) Ibid.

(46.) Dill, Inland Fisheries of Europe, pp. 189-208.

(47.) U. Grimas, 'The Bottom Fauna of Natural and Impounded Lakes in Northern Sweden (Ankarvattnet and Blasjon)', RIFR 42 (1961): 183-237; Ulf Grimas and Nils-Arvid Nilsson, 'On the Food Chain in Some North Swedish River Reservoirs', RIFR 46 (1965): 31-48.

(48.) Sven Runnstrom, 'Hydro-Electric Power Stations and Fishing', in Soil and Water Conservation: Natural Aquatic Resources, ed. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, vol. 4 (Switzerland: IUCN, 1960), pp. 61-64.

(49.) Furst, 'Experiments on the Transplantation of Mysis', 80; N.A. Nilsson, 'The Niche Concept and the Introduction of Exotics', RIFR 62 (1985): 128-135.

(50.) N.A. Nilsson, 'Biological Effects of Water-Power Exploitation in Sweden, and Means of Compensation for Damage', in International Commission on Large Dams, Madrid, Spain (Paris, 1973), p. 931.

(51.) Furst, 'Experiments on the Transplantation of New Fish-Food Organisms into Swedish Impounded Lakes. The Feeding Habits of Brown Trout and Char in Lake Blasjon', Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 18 (1972): 114-121.

(52.) Furst, 'Experiments on the Transplantation of New Fish-Food'; Nilsson, 'Biological Effects'; Ulf Grimas et al., 'The Future of Salmonid Communities in Fennoscandian Lakes', JFRBC 29 (6) (1972): 937-40; M. Furst, 'Results of Introductions of a New Fish Food Organisms into Swedish Lakes', RIFR 1981.

(53.) W.D. Klein, 'An Experimental Plant of the Small Crustacean Mysis', Fishery Leaflet No. 53, 15 Oct. 1957 (Colorado Game and Fish Department), in Colorado Parks and Wildlife Research Center Library, Fort Collins, Colorado. Utah, Wisconsin, and New York all considered mysid introductions in the 1950s and early 1960s. Karl Ricker, 'The Origin of Two Glacial Relict Crustaceans in North America, as Related to Pleistocene Glaciation', Canadian Journal of Zoology 37 (6) (1959): 871-93. Beeton to Minnesota Department of Conservation, 24 Jan. 1956; Burrows to Beeton, 27 Jan. 1956; Hale to Beeton, 1 Feb. 1956; Schumacher to Beeton, 31 Oct. 1956; Hale to Beeton, 27 Feb. 1959; Beeton to Hale, 5 Mar. 1959; Adriano to Moffett, 17 Nov. 1959; Beeton to Adriano, 1 Dec. 1959; Schultz to Beeton, 15 Jan. 1962; all in Folder 'Mysis relicta Correspondence, 1955-1980', Box 3, Series 'Drafts of and Information on Talks and Manuscripts, 1952-1991', Alfred Beeton Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

(54.) Managers in Utah and New York did not specify which trout species they wanted to target, but it was probably lake trout. Colorado officials also mentioned kokanee as a 'likely' beneficiary of mysids. But the main target in Colorado was lake trout. Ray Corlett, 'Fish, Game Department Work on "Between Bites" at Tahoe', Nevada State Journal, 16 Mar. 1967, 23; 'Tahoe Fishery', Mountain Democrat, 13 July 1967, B6; Jack Linn and Ted Frantz, 'Introduction of the Opossum Shrimp (Mysis relicta Loven) into California and Nevada', California Fish and Game (January 1965): 48-51. For others, see note 53.

(55.) Quoted in Stickney, Aquaculture of the United States, pp. 143-145.

(56.) W. Harkness, J. Leonard and P. Needham, 'Fishery Research at Mid-Century', TAFS 83 (1): 215.

(57.) Moffitt, Whelan and Jackson, 'Historical Perspectives on Inland Fisheries Management in North America', 25.

(58.) Jim Schreiber, 'From Cream Cans to Tankers', Montana Outdoors, Jan./Feb. 1982, 36.

(59.) Montana Fish and Game Commission Minutes, 26 Aug. 1969, MSHS; Frank Dunkle, 'Fisheries', Montana Wildlife (Summer 1964): 18-25.

(60.) Richard Wojtowicz, From Fish Farming to Fisheries Science: The Evolution of the Bozeman Fish Technology Center, 1892-1992 (Gallatin County Historical Society, 1992), pp. 44-49; Gary Whelan, 'A Historical Perspective on the Philosophy behind the Use of Propagated Fish in Fisheries Management: Michigan's 130-Year Experience', in AAFS Symposium 44 (2004): 307-15; Dunkle, 'Fisheries', 18-25; Montana Fish and Game Commission minutes, 15 May 1967, MSHS; Bill Alvord, 'Fish Introduction: Past, Present and Future', Montana Outdoors (May/June 1971): 18-21.

(61.) H. Davis and A.Wiebe, Experiments in the Culture of the Black Bass and Other Pondfish (DC: GPO, 1930), pp. 181-184; Swingle and Smith, 'Fertilizers for Increasing the Natural Food for Fish in Ponds'; Willemsen, 'Fishery-Aspects of Eutrophication', 12.

(62.) Montana Fish and Game Commission, 'Increasing Productivity of Mountain Lakes', Biennial Report, 1941-1942, 34, Montana State Library, Helena; Maciolek, Artificial Fertilization of Lakes and Ponds.

(63.) Maciolek, Artificial Fertilization; National Academy of Sciences, Eutrophication: Causes, Consequences, Correctives (DC: NAS, 1969).

(64.) Angler, 'Ontario's Fish Hatcheries. III Need of Research in Fish Culture', Toronto Star, no date (circa Feb. 1934), in Folder 6-8, Box 6, Clemens Fonds; Jen Corrinne Brown, Trout Culture: How Fly Fishing Forever Changed the Rocky Mountain West (University of Washington Press, 2015), pp. 106-107; Halverson, An Entirely Synthetic Fish, pp. 94-108.

(65.) Non-native fish introductions were routine in the 1950s and 1960s, even in wilderness areas. There was little or no controversy over nativeness. Edwin Pister, 'Wilderness Fish Stocking: History and Perspective', Ecosystems 4 (4) (2001): 279-86. In the 1970s, both the public and many scientists became concerned with preserving native species, including fish. In Montana, the Fish and Game Department shifted to a policy of not introducing non-native fish where they would compete with natives. Montana Fish and Game, Flathead Lake and River Fisheries Co-Management Plan 2001-2010 (Helena, 2000), p. 12, Montana State Library. However, stocking of non-native fish in wilderness areas and in competition with native fish continued in many states well after the 1970s.

(66.) Larkin, 'Pontoporeia'; Robert Pennak, Fresh-Water Invertebrates of the United States (New York: Wiley, 1953), p. 424; Vernon Hacker, 'Biology and Management of Lake Trout in Green Lake, Wisconsin', TAFS 86 (1) (1957): 71-83; Robert Vincent, 'Mysis on the Menu', The New York State Conservationist 13 (2) (1958); D.S. Rawson, 'The Lake Trout of Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan', JFRBC 18 (3) (1961): 423-62.

(67.) Larkin, 'Pontoporeia'; Beeton, 'The Vertical Migration of Mysis relicta in Lakes Huron and Michigan', JFRBC 17 (4) (1960): 517-39; Furst, 'Experiments on the Transplantation of Mysis'; Larkin, 'Experimental Work on Mysis relicta', unpublished report circa 1949, Folder 2-10, in Larkin Fonds.

(68.) 'Outdoor Activities Briefly Told', Milwaukee Journal, 8 Dec. 1963, 6; 'Canadian Shrimp Bring Larger Trout', Times-Standard, 31 Oct. 1968, 19. California explicitly sought to make large introductions in the hopes that it would not take 13 years to see effects as it had at Kootenay Lake. 'Tales Along the Trail', Mountain Democrat, 15 Aug. 1968, B6. Linn and Frantz, 'Opossum Shrimp', 49. Before biologists began using planes and refrigerated vehicles, large mysid introductions for large lakes did not seem possible. See Adriano to Beeton, 5 Jan. 1960; Beeton to Adriano, 22 Jan. 1960, in Folder 'Mysis', Beeton Papers. Ronald Gregg, Ecology of Mysis relicta in Twin Lakes, Colorado (DC: Bureau of Reclamation, 1976), p. 4. The cost to introduce shrimp to Grindstone Lake was 'negligible' according to Schumacher. Robert E. Schumacher, 'Successful Introduction of Mysis relicta (Loven) into a Minnesota Lake', TAFS 95 (2) (1966): 216. California estimated it cost $979 to transport 100,000 shrimp in 1967. Merrill E. Gosho, The Introduction of Mysis relicta to Freshwater Lakes: A Literature Survey (Seattle: Fisheries Research Institute, 1975), pp. 40-48.

(69.) Jack McNeel, 'Shrimp Salad for Kokanee', Idaho Wildlife Review, Jan.-Feb.1967, 6-8; John Heimer, 'Introduction of Opossum Shrimp into Idaho Lakes', F-53-R-5, 1 Mar. 1969 to 28 Feb. 1970, both in Idaho State Archives.

(70.) Oregon introduced mysids in 1965; Washington followed three years later. In 1966, Lake Okanagan, among several other British Columbia lakes, finally got its mysids. California and Colorado also began introducing mysids for kokanee. Gosho, The Introduction of Mysis; Patrick Martinez and Eric Bergersen, 'Interactions of Zooplankton, Mysis relicta, and Kokanees in Lake Granby, Colorado', AFS Symposium 9 (1991): 49-64. 'Plant Shrimp in Whitefish lake', Whitefish Pilot, 20 June 1968; 'Mysis Shrimp', Daily Inter Lake, 30 June 1968, 13; Robert Domrose, 'Mysis Introductions into Western Montana Lakes' (Helena: MT FWP, 1982), Mansfield Special Collections, University of Montana.

(71.) Colorado: 'Magic of Mysis', Colorado Springs Gazette, 13 Dec. 1969, 3B; 'Colorado Mackinaw Grow on Shrimp', Greeley Tribune, 10 Aug. 1974, 9. Colorado biologist Thomas Nessler indicated in an interview that the success at Kootenay Lake was influential in Colorado plants, even though most of these were for lake trout; Douglas Silver interview with Thomas Nessler, 2 Oct. 2013, in author's possession. Maine: 'Shrimp at Moosehead', Lewiston Journal, 31 Aug. 1984, 6. Although North Carolina has a warm climate, the lakes where mysids were introduced were 'cold-water, oligotrophic' mountain lakes. For introductions, see North Carolina Wildlife, Biennial Report, Jan. 1971; Jan. 1975, 6-9; Jan. 1982, 32, all at Wyoming: Randal Tullis, 'Food and Growth of Lake and Rainbow Trout in Three Piedmont Lakes, Sublette County, Wyoming', Thesis, University of Wyoming, 1983, 2. Alberta: Utah: From The Herald: 'Shrimp Added at Fish Lake', 1 Oct. 1970, 11; ''Opossum Shrimp', 27 Sept. 1970, 18.

(72.) 'Priest Lake's fish story keeps changing', Spokane Review, 14 May 1981, 12; 'Monster kokanee caught', The Bulletin, 10 June 1975, 10; 'Kokanee Records?' Spokane Daily Chronicle, 16 June 1975, 17. The kokanee caught at Priest Lake in 1975 was over 2.75 kilograms while the kokanee caught in Kootenay Lake in 1968 was over 4 kilograms, but the latter was not officially weighed.

(73.) Jerry Mallet, Quarterly Coordination Report (Boise: Idaho Fish and Game, December 1975 to February 1976), pp. 6-7, in Idaho State Archives; Charles Goldman, Eutrophication of Lake Tahoe Emphasizing Water Quality (DC: EPA, 1974), pp. 262-282; D.C. Lasenby, T.G. Northcote, and M. Furst, 'Theory, Practice, and Effects of Mysis relicta Introductions to North American and Scandinavian Lakes', Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 43 (6) (1986): 1277-84.

(74.) A.D. Martin and T.G. Northcote, 'Kootenay Lake: An Inappropriate Model for Mysis relicta Introduction in North Temperate Lakes', AFS Symposium 9 (1991): 23-29.

(75.) Mysids did improve lake trout fisheries in some cases, although the results were mixed. P.J. Martinez and E.P. Bergersen, 'Proposed Biological Management of Mysis relicta in Colorado Lakes and Reservoirs', North American Journal of Fisheries Management 9 (1) (1989): 1-11.

(76.) Glenn Sandiford, 'Fish Tales: Optimism and Other Bias in Rhetoric about Exotic Carps in America', in Invasive Species in a Globalized World, ed. Reuben Keller, Marc Cadotte and Glenn Sandiford (Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2014), p. 74; Edward Tenner, Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences (Vintage, 1997), p. 349.1997 For another cultural explanation of optimism rooted in bourgeoisie upward mobility, see Donald Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 28. For an explanation of optimism arising out of the desire of bureaucrats to appease conflicting constituencies, see P. W. Hirt, A Conspiracy of Optimism: Management of the National Forests since World War Two (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996).

(77.) In fact, categorising evaluations as optimistic or pessimistic is far from straightforward. As Sam Hays has argued, environmentalists have been depicted as pessimists, but they might better be cast as optimists who believed (unlike many bureaucratic administrators) that there was no real conflict between the pursuit of environmental quality and business-asusual economic growth, see Beauty, Health, and Permanence: Environmental Politics in the United States, 1955-1985 (Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 542.

(78.) Langdon Winner, Autonomous Technology: Technics-out-of-Control as a Theme in Political Thought (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1977), p. 97.

(79.) Steve McMullin, 'Exotic Introductions: A Fishery Manager's Headache', Montana Outdoors Mar./Apr. 1980, 24.

(80.) Joshua Tewksbury et al., 'Natural History's Place in Science and Society', BioScience, 26 Mar. 2014, 4-5.

(81.) Cartoon: 'Strange As it Seems', Independent Record, 13 Feb. 1967.

(82.) Sparrow, 'Succesful Introduction.'

(83.) E.H. Vernon, 'Morphological Heterogeneity of Kokanee, "Oncorhynchus Nerka Kennerlyi" (Suckley), in Kootenay Lake, British Columbia' (Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1954), 62.

(84.) 'Canadian Shrimp Bring Larger Trout', The Times-Standard, 31 Oct. 1968, 19; 'Record Credited to Mysis Shrimp', Spokane Daily Chronicle, 10 June 1968, 17; McNeel, 'Shrimp Salad.' Gosho's review misidentifies Clemens' rationale as including mysids for kokanee and trout. Gosho, The Introduction of Mysis, p. 2.

(85.) 'Fresh water shrimp planted in California and Nevada Lakes', Commercial Fisheries Review 25 (1963): 41-42; the following from California Fish and Game: J. Hanson and A. Cordone, 'Age and Growth of Lake Trout, Salvenus namaycush Walbaum in Lake Tahoe', Apr. 1967, 86; A. Cordone and Ted Frantz, 'An Evaluation of Trout Planting in Lake Tahoe', Apr. 1968, 87; A. Cordone, et al., 'The Kokanee Salmon in Lake Tahoe', Jan. 1971, 42.

(86.) D.C. Lasenby and R. Langford, 'Feeding and Assimilation of Mysis relicta', Limnol. Oceanogr 18 (2)(1973): 280-85; Oregon State Game Commission, 'Opossum Shrimp Collection', 1965, 2; 'Record Credited to Mysis Shrimp', Spokane Daily Chronicle, 10 June 1968, 17; Tales Along the Trail', Mountain Democrat, 15 Aug. 1968, B6; 'Shrimp Imported for Priest Lake', Spokane Daily Chronicle, 1 Sept. 1965, 35.

(87.) P.A. Larkin and S.B. Smith, 'Some Effects of Introduction of the Redside Shiner on the Kamloops Trout in Paul Lake, British Columbia', TAFS 83 (1) (1954): 161-75.

(88.) Whether biologists could have predicted the specific effects is another matter. Maybe they could not have predicted the effects on bald eagles, as Simberloff suggests (Invasive Species, 146), but they could have foreseen that something could go awry with the fish food chain.

(89.) Larkin to Beeton, 11 July 1975, in Folder 2-10, Box 2, Larkin Fonds. An example of federal dissemination of mysid knowledge is US Fish and Wildlife, Sport Fisheries Abstracts (DC: FWS, 1966), p. 40. Gosho, The Introduction of Mysis; Lasenby, 'Theory, Practice, and Effects.'

(90.) Montana Fish and Game Commission minutes, 15 May 1967; 22 April, 20 May, June, 10 Nov. 1968, Montana State Historical Society. There is little evidence that other states reviewed the introduction; Colorado did not. Nessler interview, 2 Oct. 2013.

(91.) H. Matthews and S. Turner, 'Of Mongooses and Mitigation: Ecological Analogues to Geoengineering', Environmental Research Letters 4 (4) (2009): 1-9.

(92.) Ned Horner, et al., 'Regional Fisheries Management Investigations', F-71-R-13, Idaho Fish and Game, 1989, 39-43, Idaho State Archives. Ministry of Environment, Ten-Year Summary of the Lake Okanagan Action Plan, 1995-2005 (Vancouver: Ministry of Environment, 2006)

(93.) Patrick Martinez, et al., 'Western Lake Trout Woes', Fisheries, September 2009: 424-429; B.K. Ellis et al., 'Long-Term Effects of a Trophic Cascade in a Large Lake Ecosystem', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (3) (2011): 1070. 'Double whammy' quote from B.K. Ellis, in Leif Fredrickson, 'The Aliens Are Coming!' Missoula Independent, 21 Apr. 2011, 14-18.

(94.) T.P. Nesler and E.P. Bergersen, Mysids in Fisheries: Hard Lessons from Headlong Introductions, 9 (Bethesda: American Fisheries Society, 1991), pp. 10-11; I.R. Weidema, Introduced Species in the Nordic Countries (Nordic Council of Ministers, 2000), p. 101.

(95.) 'Lake Kokanee Studied', Spokesman-Review, 27 Feb. 1991, B2; John Fraley, 'Mitigation in the Flathead', Montana Outdoors, Nov.-Dec. 1990, 27-31.

(96.) Don Gayton, Kokanee: The Redfish and the Kootenay Bioregion (Vancouver: New Star Books, 2002), pp. 59-62.

(97.) Mart A. Stewart, 'Cultivating Kudzu: The Soil Conservation Service and the Kudzu Distribution Program', The Georgia Historical Quarterly 81 (1)(1997): 151-67; Chew, 'The Monstering of Tamarisk'; Fredrickson, 'From Ecocide to Eco-Ally'.

(98.) Tammy Webber, 'Reversing the Chicago River Again? Asian Carp Threat Leaves Few Options', Huffington Post, 18 Aug. 2011; Joel Brammeier and Thom Cmar, 'Pathways toward a Policy of Preventing New Great Lakes Invasions', and Robert Keller, 'Ecological Separation without Hydraulic Separation: Engineering Solutions to Control Invasive Common Carp in Australia Rivers', both in Keller, Cadotte and Sandiford, Invasive Species in a Globalized World. The use of sterile males has been tried in other invasive species, including lampreys and various insects.

Table 1. Key lakes where mysis shrimp were introduced or became

Waterbody                 First         From             Initial target
                          Introduction                   species
Kootenay Lake, British    1949         Waterton Lake     Rainbow Trout
Columbia, Canada                       (BC)
Lake Storsjon, Sweden     1954         Lake Malaren      Brown Trout,
                                       (Sweden)          Arctic Char
Twin Lakes, Colorado, USA 1957         Clearwater Lake   Lake Trout
Grindstone Lake,          1961         Trout Lake        Lake Trout
Minnesota, USA                         (MN)
Lake Tahoe, California    1963         Green Lake (WI)   Lake Trout
and Nevada, USA                        and Waterton Lake
Lake Blasjon, Sweden      1964         Lake Jansjon      Brown Trout,
                                       (Sweden)          Arctic Char
Priest Lake, Idaho, USA   1965         Waterton Lake     Kokanee Salmon
Okanagan, British         1966         Kootenay Lake     Kokanee Salmon
Columbia, Canada
Lake Pend Oreille,        1966         Waterton Lake     Kokanee Salmon
Idaho, USA
Whitefish Lake,           1968         Waterton Lake     Kokanee Salmon
Montana, USA
Coeur D'Alene             1968         Kootenay Lake     Kokanee Salmon
Lake, Idaho, USA
Bear Lake, Utah, USA      1970         Waterton Lake     Lake Trout
Flathead Lake,            1970s-1981   Upstream lakes    Accidental
Montana, USA

Table 2. Key characteristics of mysis shrimp and associated fish

Common name       Scientific name   Feeds on         Where in lake
Mysid or          Mysis relicta     phytoplankton,   Day: lake bottom
opossum shrimp    (now Mysis        zooplankton      Night: near
                  diluviana in                       surface
                  North America)
Lake Whitefish    Coregonus         zooplankton,     Lake bottom
                  clupeaformis      insects
Lake trout        Salvelinus        fish,            Lake bottom
                  namaycush         zooplankton,
Rainbow trout     Oncorhynchus      insects, some    Near shore
                  mykiss            fish
Kokanee salmon    Oncorhynchus      zooplankton      Day: near
                  nerka                              surface, open
Brown trout       Salmo trutta      insects, some    Lake bottom
Arctic char       Salvelinus        zooplankton,     Lake bottom
                  alpinus           insects, fish
Bull trout        Salvelinus        fish,            Lake bottom
                  confluentus       zooplankton

Common name         Historic range
Mysid or            Midwest, Far
opossum shrimp      North, Northeast
Lake Whitefish      Midwest, Far
                    North, Northeast
Lake trout          Midwest, Far
                    North, Northeast
Rainbow trout       Inland Northwest
Kokanee salmon      Inland Northwest
Brown trout         Europe
Arctic char         Circumpolar
Bull trout          Inland Northwest
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Title Annotation:Research Articles
Author:Fredrickson, Leif
Publication:Environment and History
Article Type:Report
Date:May 1, 2017
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