The invasion has caused local authorities and scientists to ask residents not to flush their fish down the drain. A number of goldfish about the same size as a small dog are being taken from lakes and streams throughout the province. What is the size of a goldfish in terms of its weight? Most people will answer that it depends on the size of your aquarium. So, even if their tank grows to its maximum capacity, how do you know if they continue growing until they become huge goldfish monsters? Alberta Zooologists have begun to address this question. The answer is both disconcerting and a bit scary. An invasive species can spread and threaten native species, causing ecological havoc. According to The Nature Conservancy: “When a species is introduced–accidentally or intentionally–into a new landscape that is not used to its presence, the consequences can be devastating.” (Image: bcinvasives.ca) Wild Albertan goldfish are growing Invasive species experts in Alberta say that over the past few years, goldfish in lakes and ponds are getting bigger – they will probably continue growing, especially if there is lots of food about and plenty of space. As an engagement specialist, Kate Wilson joined Alberta Environment & Sustainable Resource Development, part of the Alberta Invasive Species Council (ESRD), to report that 2013, goldenfish were found as far as Lethbridge. Interview with CTV’s Canada AM Ms. Wilson stated that “it really is an issue.” Many of these fish can grow to be quite big once they are released from an aquarium. The giant Alberta goldfish that were pulled from the waters are more than 20 cm long. This is roughly the length of a Russell Terrier, but smaller than Jack Russell. The wild goldfish can survive the cold Canadian winters. Experts believe this to be the case and their numbers are rising. Experts in wildlife say the worst thing for Alberta is to allow goldfish to breed in the wild. This is a major problem. Some native species suffer when an invasive species, which is not native to that area, thrives. These species can be very destructive not only for the environment but also for the economy. Alberta already has reported an increase in the number of invasive Prussian cars. The province is working to stop lampreys from taking over and zebra mussels. The delicate balance in Alberta’s aquaculture and flora could be disrupted by these invasive species, which can either eat native species of fish or compete for their food. Although experts are not aware of the potential impact that invasive goldfish could have on native species’ populations, their rapid growth is alarming. The goldfish are avid consumers of eggs and can compete with other native species in food supply. There are many factors that determine the size of a goldfish, such as the amount of space available, how many fish eggs there are, what food is available, quality and genetic makeup. They have lots of room, plenty of food and great water quality in Alberta, which is ideal for their growth. Do not flush your pet fish down the toilet. The Alberta Fisheries Act states that anyone caught with live fish in their toilet or from their fish tank can be subject to a maximum CAN $100,000. fine. Experts warn that flushing the aquarium contents down the toilet could spread parasites and non-native species of plants into the ecosystem. According to Ms. Wilson, flushing a fish out is not an humane method of getting rid it. It’s cruel to do this to your pet. Although it will likely die an awful death, some fish are strong enough to survive and cause potentially massive damage. Video: Giant goldfish in Alberta Kate Wilson discusses the problem of the Alberta giant goldfish invading the province and the government’s efforts to address the issue.
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