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Surrender Event Seeks Unwanted Aquarium Fish and Plants

Photo: Habitattitud booth. Pictured from left: Doug Jensen, Ryan Huffmeier, Tyler Untiedt

The 2016 HabitattitudeTM team ready for action. Doug Jensen, left, of Minnesota Sea Grant; Ryan Huffmeier, middle, University of Minnesota Duluth; and Tyler Untiedt, UMD student and MNSG undergraduate intern. Photo courtesy of Doug Jensen.

You can "surrender" or rehome unwanted fish, aquarium plants and reptiles.

If you're just not that into your pet goldfish, reptile or water-garden plants anymore and are considering setting them free, Minnesota Sea Grant has a better solution.

Bring your unwanted fish, reptiles and aquatic plants to the HabitattitudeTM Surrender event on Saturday, October 7, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Animal Allies, 4006 Airport Road in Duluth.

"Releasing, allowing to escape or flushing pet fish, reptiles and plants from aquariums and water gardens into Minnesota's waters is potentially harmful to our environment and our economy," said Doug Jensen, aquatic invasive species program coordinator with Minnesota Sea Grant. "Released non-native species can become invasive, reproduce so quickly they outcompete native species and can destroy habitat."

Hosted by Animal Allies and supported by Minnesota Sea Grant and World of Fish, the event is part of the national HabitattitudeTM public awareness campaign to help aquarium and water garden owners prevent the release of aquatic fish and plants into the environment.

"We are glad to be a part of this collaborative effort to help people find ethical and humane solutions to problems with keeping exotic pets," said Shawna Weaver, human education manager for Animal Allies. "These animals rarely survive a seemingly kindhearted release into the wild. Surrender is a much better solution."

Fish and other organisms from aquariums and water gardens can carry parasites and diseases, such as spring viremia of carp, which can spread to native carp-related species if released into the environment.

"Together, Minnesota Sea Grant, Animal Allies and World of Fish form the Duluth HabitattitudeTM Surrender Collaborative that works toward providing a permanent, convenient pet adoption or return option for owners with unwanted pets and avoids potentially harmful releases into the environment," said Jensen. "About 60 fish and reptiles were surrendered during the event in 2016."

For field guides, species profiles, videos, watch cards and more about aquatic invasive species go to www.seagrant.umn.edu/ais/index.

Additional Information

The University of Minnesota Sea Grant College Program, located at the Duluth campus, works to enhance the state's coastal environment, society and economy through scientific research and public education programs. MNSG seeks to convey the needs of communities, industries and management agencies to university scientists and promotes the best science regarding Lake Superior and Minnesota's inland lakes.

Animal Allies Humane Society strives to ensure a lifetime of loving care for every pet by reducing overpopulation, increasing adoption and fostering humane values.

World of Fish offers tropical and saltwater fish and reptiles in the Duluth area.

HabitattitudeTM is led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with significant support from the pet and aquarium trade and the nursery and landscape industry. Key players in the initiative include the National Sea Grant College Program and state fish and wildlife agencies. Funding for the HabitattitudeTM Surrender Collaborative comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to Minnesota Sea Grant, in collaboration with the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network.


  • Doug Jensen, aquatic invasive species program coordinator, University of Minnesota Sea Grant College Program, djensen1@d.umn.edu, c: 218-590-7164
  • Shawna Weaver, humane education manager, Animal Allies, shawna@animalallies.net, o: 218-722-5341
  • Marie Thoms, public relations and communications specialist, University of Minnesota Sea Grant College Program, methoms@d.umn.edu, o: 218-726-8710, c: 907-460-1841

Posted on September 20, 2017

This page last modified on September 20, 2017     © 1996 – 2020 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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