FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A Fayetteville boy has asked state lawmakers to consider making the alligator gar Arkansas’ official fish.
Henry Foster, 10, a Vandergriff Elementary School student sent a letter to five legislators on Friday.
He wrote Rep. David Whitaker, D-Fayetteville, Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Berryville, Rep. Clarke Tucker, D-Little Rock, Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, and Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, about the issue.
Arkansas is one of the few states with no declared state fish.
Foster wrote he has loved fish all his life and wants either the alligator gar or yellowcheek darter to become the state fish.
Of the two, Foster wrote he prefers the alligator gar because it has been living in Arkansas for millions of years, and no other state has adopted it as the official state fish. He said if Arkansas adopts the alligator gar as its official state fish, more people will be willing to protect it, and the fish might be taken off the endangered species list.
One fish Foster doesn’t want Arkansas to adopt? The largemouth bass. He wrote Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee have all adopted it, and they might think Arkansas was copying them.
The soonest lawmakers could vote on adopting the alligator gar would be in 2019.
Ballinger said he’d support the effort.
Leding said, “I think it’s fantastic a 10-year-old is hooked on Arkansas wildlife and has taken the time to catch the attention of local elected officials. I’ll take the bait, but I want to fish around a bit, see what other ideas might be lurking in the water.”
Missouri’s state fish is the channel catfish.