Dumped pet goldfish turn into giants in Canadian waters

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jun 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-25 21:38:27-04

We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Officials in Alberta, Canada, say dumping of live goldfish into the ecosystem has resulted in freakishly large fish. The invasive species has no natural predator and is thriving in poor water conditions, according to Kate Wilson, aquatic invasive species specialist with Alberta Environment and Parks.

“The biggest one we’ve caught is the size of a dinner plate,” Wilson said.

“That’s the crazy thing about domestic aquatic pets, you have them in your aquarium and they are this cute little thing and then you release it into the wild and that constraint of size and food is gone and because of that some of these species can get really big,” Wilson said.

The fish are reproducing in cold, harsh, low-oxygenated areas like Fort McMurray, which is 275 miles north of Edmonton in Alberta. That is they caught the four generations of fish pictured above.

Wilson warns, “We are estimating hundreds of thousands are in flowing rivers and water. My biggest concern is people are doing this because they think it’s the humanitarian thing to do. We really need to correct misinformation.”

It is illegal to dump or transfer live fish from one body of water to another. Aquarium owners who no longer want their finned friends have a few options: Contact a retailer for a possible return, give the fish away, donate it to a school or talk to a veterinarian about humane disposal.