Owner-Released Goldfish Damage Natural Ecosystem

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If you release a goldfish into the wild, it can start thriving in a new environment it doesn’t belong in, and therefore become an invasive species. The Centre of Fish and Fisheries at Murdoch University in Western Australia know this all too well. For the past 12 years, they’ve tried to keep the goldfish population in the Vasse River under control, but these fish are a big issue, literally.

These large goldfish negatively impact the ecosystem of the river for the native fish. Researcher Stephen Beatty has studied the spawning migration of the goldfish in order to figure out a way to lessen their population.

Researchers hope to build a trap at the mouth of the river, but they could also use “electrofishing.” Unfortunately, any sort of elimination method will also hurt the native population of fish. Because of this, Beatty recommends that people think carefully about getting rid of their goldfish.

Mashable quotes Beatty as saying, “The key thing is if you’ve got unwanted pets, you can see if the pet shops will take them back. But if you’re going to euthanise them, putting them in the freezer is the most humane way. But just letting go of a pet, no matter how innocuous you think it is in your aquarium, or how pretty it is, can potentially cause a lot of damage. Not all fish you let go will form a self-maintaining population, but we’re finding more and more that do.”