Welcome to the Rotenone Stewardship Program Information Site
Fishery managers rely on a wide variety of tools for the management and assessment of fish populations to maintain diverse and productive aquatic ecosystems and high quality recreational fisheries. One of the most valuable tools is rotenone, a chemical commonly used by fishery professionals throughout North America since 1947 to control fish and as a sampling aid.
The use of rotenone and other fish management substances is the only method, other than complete draining, that can consistently eliminate entire populations of fishes. Complete elimination of fish is often needed to accomplish management objectives such as eradicating undesirable and alien invasive fish, eradicating competing fish in rearing facilities, treating drainages prior to impoundment, restoring threatened or endangered species, and eliminating fish to control diseases. Rotenone is the only sampling method that provides for an accurate estimate of diverse fish communities.
Over the past several years, the use of rotenone has become a concern to a variety of interests including environmental and animal rights groups. As a result, its use has been challenged, halted, or discouraged. In 1993, the AFS Fish Management Chemicals Subcommittee recognized a need to respond to increased concerns and established the “Rotenone Stewardship Program”. In 2000, Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Federal Aid administrative funding was used to prepare and produce a manual on rotenone use for fisheries managers. In 2010 as a result of the reregistration process for rotenone, that manual was revised using Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Fish and Wildlife Management and Habitat Restoration funds and expanded to the current Planning and Standard Operating Procedures for the Use of Rotenone in Fish Management – Rotenone SOP Manual. With the approved reregistration came several significant technical changes in how rotenone will be used as a tool in fish management. These changes are incorporated into the product labels and in the Rotenone SOP Manual.
The Fish Management Chemicals Subcommittee through the Rotenone Stewardship Program has:
- written a Rotenone SOP Manual for the safe and effective use of rotenone that incorporates the changes in rotenone use that resulted from the reregistration process and emphasizes planning and public involvement,
- convened symposia on piscicides at several AFS National Meetings in St. Louis (2000) Rotenone Use in Fishery Management: Are the Rewards Worth the Risk?, Anchorage (2005) and San Francisco (2007),
- plans on convening another symposium on piscicides at the 2011 AFS National Meeting in Seattle,
- produced a public information brochure Maintaining North America’s Healthy Native Aquatic Ecosystems: Rotenone’s Role in Eradicating Invasive Fishes, Parasites and Diseases (PDF),
- conducted a surveys of current rotenone uses and limitations to help define the needs of the Rotenone Stewardship Program and published results in Rotenone Use in North America 1988–1997 (PDF) 2000 and Rotenone Use in North America 1988–2002 (PDF) 2005 issues of Fisheries,
- written columns, editorials, updates, and articles on various issues associated with rotenone and piscicide use that are published periodically in Fisheries
- offers training on the safe and effective use of piscicides, and
- provides updates at this site on current issues that affect the use of rotenone and piscicides and updates for the Rotenone SOP Manual.
At the core of the Rotenone Stewardship Program is the axiom that rotenone continues to be a very valuable tool in fisheries without which many management options will be lost. Fish and wildlife agencies need to take the lead in ensuring its future availability. A commitment now to follow the Rotenone SOP Manual recommendations on the safe and effective use of rotenone, that emphasizes planning and public involvement, is critical. Our fisheries depend on it.
Document Viewing Instructions
The Rotenone Stewardship Program is made possible, in part, due to a grant from the Rotenone Task Force (Foreign Domestic Chemicals Corporation and Prentiss Incorporated).