It's a nightmare scenario that could end fishing in the Hudson River as we know it. A fish that poses a serious risk to anglers has been discovered in the waters near Poughkeepsie.

Environmentalists say that the round goby is more dangerous than pollution. And to the dismay of experts, several of these invasive fish have recently been found in the Hudson between Kingston and Newburgh.

How did it get here?

According to Riverkeeper, the round goby was introduced into the Great Lakes by mistake back in 1990. Within just five years it was found in all of the Great Lakes, making its way to the Erie Canal by 2014. Although warning bells have been ringing for decades about the fish's potential for a devastating effect on the Hudson River, it's been allowed to continue to migrate to the east without any intervention from the government.

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Now, the worst-case scenario has finally been imagined, and the round goby is officially in the Hudson River. Unfortunately, it may be too late to reverse course. But action can still be taken to stop even more dangerous fish from making the same journey.

Why is this fish so dangerous?

Riverkeeper says the round goby is a "voracious feeder" that easily beats out other fish already living in the Hudson River for food and spawning habitat. The invasive species feed on the eggs of native species and spreads a disease that has already killed thousands of fish in the waters of New York state.

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The round goby can have a serious impact on smallmouth bass, walleye, and river herring. In just a few years, sportfishing on the Hudson River could begin to suffer thanks to this bug-eyed fish that doesn't seem to have any signs of slowing down.

It gets worse

While environmentalists are concerned about the round goby, there are other fish already making their way to the Hudson River that pose an even greater risk. Grass carp and other Asian carp are breaking through to the Great Lakes from the Mississippi watershed and could be in the Hudson River within a few years. If that happens, it's game over.

Once these fish make their way to the Hudson Valley, there's virtually no hope of eliminating them. Other invasive species like water chestnut and zebra mussels have already had an impact on the local ecosystem. The introduction of carp into the Hudson River would devastate boating and fishing forever. Not only would it seriously reduce the number of native species, but some species of carp already inviting Illinois River can launch themselves 10 feet in the air, causing a serious hazard to boaters.

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What can be done?

These invasive species have been introduced to local waters by stowing away in the ballast waters of ships making their way through the New York canal system. Riverkeeper is asking Governor Hochul to block invasive fish at the Eerie and Champlain canal using new technology and processes to make sure they don't enter the waterways. You can send an automated email to the Governor and urge her to take action at Riverkeeper's website.

In the meantime, if you happen to catch a round goby in the Hudson River the DEC urges you to not return it to the river. Instead, make sure it is dead and dispose of it ashore. You're also asked to take photos of the fish from different angles and send them with the date and location of capture to isinfo@dec.ny.gov.

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