One fish, two fish, too many goldfish in Cuddy pond - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 22, 2019
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One fish, two fish, too many goldfish in Cuddy pond

British Columbia has been battling goldfish infestations in its ponds and lakes. Even Gustavus had a goldfish invasion, after someone let their pet fish loose in a pond a few years back.

Anchorage is possibly the northernmost location for a goldfish invasion, with a school of 150 or more of the fish now swimming around and likely breeding in Cuddy Park Pond.

So far, the Department of Fish and Game has pulled a few of them from the water and tested them for parasites and disease, and in doing so found some goldfish with eggs. That could spell trouble, especially if they escape the manmade lake and get into other waterbodies.

The fish were first spotted in 2018 and didn’t die over the winter. In home aquariums, they tend to remain small, but in the wild they can grow to the size of a football. They are now considered one of the world’s worst invasive species.

In general, goldfish are not favored food by other species, although otters, minks, and great blue heron will eat them.

Fish and Game is trying to figure out how to deal with them. They can net them, shock the water and kill them, or use a chemical called rotenone.

But just about anything Fish and Game does is going to require a permit, especially if biologists want to lower the level of the pond by draining it. The considerations include the danger to workers who would scoop up the fish from the fecal-laden bottom of the pond.

Getting a permit means the state agency would have to go through the Department of Natural Resources. It might require a public comment period. And meanwhile, the fish might successfully breed and increase the problem exponentially.

Fish and Game says however it tackles the feral goldfish, they cannot stay, nor can they be caught and transported home to some Alaskan’s aquarium. They are going to have to be — to put it delicately — “dispatched.”

At one lake in British Columbia, workers netted thousands of goldfish-gone-rogue out of a pond, bagged them up and hauled them to the dump. Watch how they took on the problem in 2016 — using dip nets. After that, the province tried electrocution, which removed another 4,500 goldfish, but they are still battling it out with the voracious invaders at Dragon Lake:

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comment

  • Fish and Game needs to line the banks with a bunch of kids holding a fishing pole, maybe serve hot dogs and offer a prize for the most fish “dispatched”. A couple of weekends would put a big dent in the population.

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