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Getting rid of a pet because you can’t take care of them for whatever reason can be difficult, but usually the best thing to do in a situation like that is to try and re-home them.

That can sometimes be difficult when it comes to fish, and as a result, some pet owners wind up dumping them into local waterways. While this might seem like a good idea, it’s something that can have a significant impact on the local ecosystem.

This has recently become an issue in Minnesota, where officials are finding the typically tiny fish, only now, those fish aren’t so tiny. Goldfish, which can grow to the size of a football, then compete with native species for food, and disrupting the sediment in the water, making it difficult for other fish to eat. In the wild, goldfish are also carnivorous, and will actually eat the eggs of native fish species.

While the most recent events of fish dumping are happening in the United States, a similar issue happened in Alberta in 2015. Goldfish the size of dinner plates were being found in various parts of the province. It’s not just the size that had officials concerned, but the numbers as well. In the municipality of Wood Buffalo, 40 goldfish were pulled from a storm water pond.

It’s not just the dumping of goldfish that has people concerned.

A koi fish was caught in the Tignish area by the Tignish Watershed Management Group in 2018. Koi fish are coloured varieties of the Amur carp, a species of fish native to Asia. These fish are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor water gardens or koi ponds.

That koi had to be euthanized because it had already adapted to the brook where it didn’t belong. The management group wasn’t able to release it into a new ornamental pond because it likely wouldn’t have survived.

There are countless examples of things like this happening around the world for various reasons, but at the end of the day, if a plant or animal isn’t native to an area, it shouldn’t be introduced.

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