Goldfish Released into Lake McIntyre

What happens when your cute little goldfish outgrows its small fishbowl or aquarium?
What do you do with it?
Well one thing you should never do is release it into your local waterways, be it a lake, river, drain or dam.
Once released into the environment they can grow to extra-ordinary sizes. Some released goldfish have been recorded as growing to 1.9kgm and released koi carp grow even larger – up to 1 metre long and 8kgm! These huge fish have been recorded and caught in the Vasse River in Western Australia.

Several years ago, 3 goldfish were sighted in the shallows of Lake McIntyre, obviously having been put there by a member of the public. Perhaps this person thought they were doing the right thing, but releasing any sort of fish into an area where it does not belong is not being kind – either to the fish or the environment.
We can only hope that the goldfish released were all the same sex and therefore have not bred, and that they will not cause any insurmountable problems to our native fish or the aquatic environment.

Introduced fish of any sort can do a lot of damage to our native freshwater fish and their natural environment. Goldfish are carnivorous, so they will eat other fish, tadpoles, and the eggs of our native fish. Their feeding habits stir up the bottom of the waterway, disrupting plants and making the water turbid and muddy which can be a cause of algal blooms. They can also introduce diseases which can dramatically impact the number of native fish.
Once released it is notoriously difficult to eradicate them.

Earlier this month one of the goldfish that was released into Lake McIntyre was found floating and at risk of being eaten by a pelican. It was caught and removed from the water but had died of an unknown cause. If this fish had any type of exotic disease, it may have caused harm to the pelican or any other predator that could have eaten it.

So remember, having any sort of pet is a responsibility. When the time comes for you to give up that pet, the responsibility does not end. Please do not release your goldfish into any of your local waterways.