Dace refers to a species of fish found in the UK known for being fast; nicknamed “the dart” dace is a freshwater fish that belongs to scientific family Cyprinidae. The fish is found mostly in rivers and streams in the UK and other parts of the planet. Note that, this is an invasive species; therefore you should never use it as live bait.

The primary way this invasive species of fish spreads to new areas is through humans, it is a small fish meaning that it is very easy to transport even without knowledge.

When introduced to a new area the fish will multiply very fast and sooner or later if actions are not taken, they will take over the region leading to a decline in the number of native species.

How to identify dace

The importance of being able to identify this species of fish is it will allow you to assist in efforts geared towards stopping its spread. You see the thing is when you introduce an invasive species of fish to a new area. It will compete for food with local species and most times the invasive species will win, this will lead to a decline in the number of local species and an increase in numbers of the invasive species.

This is a freshwater fish meaning that you will only find them in fresh water, on average the common dace grows up to 40cm and has two or three dorsal spines, three anal spines, seven or nine dorsal soft rays and weigh less than 1000 grams.

The best way to distinguish them from other species of fish in the UK is to look for the following:

  • They have subterminal mouths: the upper jaw is a bit longer
  • They don’t have projecting snouts
  • They don’t grow more than 30cm
  • Their horizontal branch is shorter than the vertical branch
  • Their lateral lines have between forty-seven and fifty-two scales.

The fish reproduces and matures very fast and can live up to fifteen years.

Dace spawn in autumn and reside in backwaters and lower reaches of rivers; they mostly reside in rivers but some have been found in lakes and still water. It takes them one year to mature meaning that they grow up very fast. They feed on zoobenthos, insects, plants, weeds algae and Ariel insects.

How they are controlled in the UK

Controlling invasive species of fish is not easy because of the reproduce and mature very fast, this means that eradication is almost impossible. In the UK invasive species are controlled through regular monitoring of water bodies, this helps in mapping out areas that are at risk of invasion.

As an angler it is in your best interest to contribute to controlling these invasive species, what you have to do is learn to identify them. If you find an invasive species in an area that it is not native to, you should report your finding to the authorities; you should also avoid using live bait in new areas when fishing.

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