The fight against invasive species

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Sometimes dramatic measures are necessary to prevent an even more drastic situation.

The Town of Okotoks has begun the process of using the chemical Rotenone to treat four storm-water ponds to eradicate goldfish that were released and have multiplied.

Sometimes you kill with kindness. It’s a necessary and unfortunate outcome of well-intended decisions by some to release unwanted fish into the ponds.

Goldfish are considered an invasive species. They are not native to Alberta’s lakes and rivers.

Storm-water ponds in Okotoks feed into the Sheep River and there are legitimate concerns goldfish released into the ponds will make it into the river and spread from there.

Goldfish may be small in a fishbowl, but can grow when removed.

Some of the fish removed from the Drake Landing ponds last week were as large as a dinner plate.

If they made it into the Sheep River and further into other river systems, they could out-compete native species for food.

We’ve seen the impact invasive species can have elsewhere. Asian carp have become a problem in parts of the United States and the provincial government is battling to prevent zebra mussels from coming into the province.

No one wants to see a similar situation happen here.

People should not be releasing goldfish or other unwanted pets into the wild.

Find an appropriate place to take the fish. Donate it to a school or another aquarium owner or discuss options with animal rescue groups. If necessary, talk to a veterinarian about how to humanely dispose of it.

No responsible pet owner would dream of releasing an unwanted dog or cat in the country, but unfortunately some people still do it.

It may seem humane, but it’s not the right thing to do.

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