A Canadian province is struggling with a goldfish infestation as people let their pets into local lakes. The fact that most of them have now become gigantic is especially problematic.
Goldfish are one of the most popular pets in the world. This is due to its beautiful bright color, but it is considered to be very easy to care for. That is why parents buy them for their children as their first pet.
However, these small fish are often abandoned. In fact, if the child loses interest in the animal, such a fish may end up in the toilet or be released into a lake or pond.
In the Canadian province of British Columbia, this practice led to goldfish plague. But these are no ordinary small goldfish: many specimens are the size of a soccer ball.
This is because goldfish adapt to their environment. They grow especially large in “warmer, more productive waters,” the naturalist explains Brian Hayes to do Canadian Press. The first reports of overpopulation of giant goldfish in Canada date back to 2019.
The problem is compounded by the fact that goldfish can reproduce particularly efficiently. “Girls don’t even need a guy,” Hayes says. They engage in gynogenesis, a reproductive process in which the female receives sperm from other fish.
Use it to produce goldfish roe without any male genetic traits. “So it makes clones of itself. That’s why they’re good at spreading quickly.”
Rainbow trout should help
So far the authorities have tried to solve the problem with the power board. An electric shock is sent into the water. Although native fish can be easily resuscitated, goldfish are eliminated. Over the past three years, more than 6,000 goldfish have been removed from Dragon Lake in Quesnel this way.
But this method is expensive. “The downside is that you don’t kill all the fish,” Hayes says. “That’s why you should always do it.” On the other hand, it costs about $10,000 to shock a lake for several days.
Instead, officials are trying to solve the goldfish problem with rainbow trout. Since 2020, these fish have been annually introduced into goldfish plague-affected waters. As announced by the responsible ministry, there are now fish big enough to prey on goldfish.
“We are harming the regional flora and fauna”
According to Hayes, other trout species suffer from the presence of goldfish, which compete with them for food. That’s why he’s calling on authorities to fund more electroshock procedures to protect native animals. However, no additional measures of this nature are currently anticipated.
Also, the public should be better informed that exotic animals “be it snakes, turtles, birds or fish” should not be allowed in forest areas. “It often harms the animal in question because it’s not used to this environment, and we also harm the regional flora and fauna.”
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