Residents of the Alberta Providence in Western Canada recently received some shocking news from their local government.
Although many thought it was a joke, the government sent out a message addressing a very serious issue.
They requested that people no longer flush their pet goldfish down the toilet.
Goldfish, some the size of dinner plates, are being found from Lethbridge to Fort McMurray, the province says.
“It’s quite a surprise how large we’re finding them and the sheer number,” said Kate Wilson, aquatic invasive species co-ordinator at Alberta Environment and Parks.
In one case, the municipality of Wood Buffalo pulled 40 of the domestic fish species from a storm water pond.
“That’s really scary because it means they’re reproducing in the wild, they are getting quite large and they are surviving the winters that far north,”
While most people see goldfish as an easy first pet for children, they can disrupt other species in their natural environment by evading their space and food.
In addition, flushing dead goldfish can be dangerous because they can house certain parasites and diseases.
Apparently when you release goldfish from their carnival-prize plastic bag to a larger environment, their size is less limited. According to the Post, goldfish will basically keep growing as long as water temperatures and food resources support it.
It’s not just a Canadian problem. Goldfish have been dumped into a Colorado lake, evidently by a pet owner years ago, and have reproduced. Now thousands of the non-native fish threaten indigenous aquatic species, state wildlife officials say.