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Goldfish dumped in Minnesota lakes grow bigger than a foot

Tuesday, July 13th 2021, 5:45 pm - Virginia authorities also warned people to avoid dumping aquatic organisms into waterways after one angler caught a 16-inch (40.64 cm) goldfish.

Officials in Minnesota want people to cease releasing pet fish into local bodies of water after numerous large-sized goldfish were recently plucked from a local lake.

In Burnsville, Minn., about 24 kilometres south of Minneapolis, authorities stated that goldfish have the ability to grow several times bigger than their normal size and can have disastrous impacts on native species.

SEE ALSO: Don't dispose of pet fish into public waterways, experts say

The City of Burnsville tweeted a warning Friday, July 9, along with photos of a few significantly sized goldfish that were recently found in Keller Lake.

In November 2020, Carver County pulled out as many as 50,000 goldfish from local bodies of water.

“A few goldfish might seem to some like a harmless addition to the local water body – but they’re not,” the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

It's not just in Minnesota lakes where goldfish are turning up in. Virginia officials cautioned recently that “pet owners should never release their aquatic organisms into the wild” after one angler caught a 16-inch (40.64 cm) goldfish.


The possible negative impacts from releasing pet fish in local waterways depends on the species of fish that has been dumped, according to Jeff K. Brinsmead, a senior invasive species biologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).

He discussed the negative impacts of dumping pet fish into local environments in a previous interview with The Weather Network earlier this year.

He said there are more temperate species that could survive the harsher weather, increasing the risk of causing damage to local ecosystems. A goldfish, for example, can survive over the winter since it originates from the colder waters in Asia.

Goldfish/City of Burnsville City of Burnsville.

"If they don't want it anymore, they think they're doing it a favour (by) releasing it into natural waters, which of course, is not the case. It's often detrimental to the animal that you're releasing, as well as it is detrimental to other animals that inhabit those waters," said Brinsmead.

The outcome is that the surviving invasive fish, or any type of living organism foreign to the environment, will compete with native species for food and habitat.

"Whether it's a plant-eater or whether it eats insects, or whether it eats other fish, it would compete with our native species that eat similar things. They would compete with native species for habitat space," he said. "If it's a predator, it would actually directly consume some of our native species."

Brinsmead said if you "absolutely can't find an opportunity to rehome that pet," then humane euthanization of it is encouraged rather than releasing it into natural waters.

Thumbnail courtesy of the City of Burnsville.

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