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May 12, 2011

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has just finished stocking New Jersey’s lakes and ponds with its three millionth fish -- not for anglers but to combat mosquitos. It’s part of a biological control program by DEP’s Office of Mosquito Control Commission.

The fish in question -- Gambusia, fathead minnows, freshwater killfish and pumpkinseed sunfish -- can be more effective than pesticides in killing mosquito larvae, according to Bob Kent, administrator of the office. "Insecticides require multiple applications every mosquito season. The right fish can eliminate or greatly reduce the need for any application at all."

Not all stocking sites are appropriate for the mosquito-fighting fish, since they are omnivores and can feed on other native fish. Biologists scout the sites to make sure which, if any, of the mosquito-fish are best suited for the area before stocking occurs.

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