British Columbia

Invasive goldfish face electrocution in B.C.

The same fish that many of us knew and cared for as pets during our childhood is now at the centre of a massive takedown.

Turns out the orange fish we cared for as children are an invasive species

Volunteers zapped almost 4,500 fish over two days. (Baker Creek Enhancement Society)

The familiar orange fish that many of us knew and cared for as pets during childhood is at the centre of a massive takedown. 

Volunteers suited up in Ghostbusters-like backpacks have spent the past two days electrocuting goldfish in Dragon Lake, near Quesnel, B.C. 

It's believed the fish were dumped there by former owners, and over the years their numbers have multiplied. Now the lake is up to its gills in goldfish. 

"They've been able to breed in the lake for years," said Tracy Bond, of the Baker Creek Enhancement Society, an environmental group.

Bond said the goldfish are displacing native fish, eating their food and taking over their habitat.

Environmentalists say the goldfish are crowding out local fish. (Baker Creek Enhancement Society)

So far, the crews, who've had training in use of the equipment, have taken about 4,500 goldfish out of the water. The volunteers wade into the water, placing a wand beneath the surface, which creates a charge which stuns or kills the fish.

Bond said there could still be many more goldfish in the lake. Unlike the fragile goldfish we kept in bowls, these have turned out to be tough. 

"They can handle things our native fish can't handle," said Bond. 

Volunteers have backpacks on that look similar to the ones seen in Ghostbusters. (Baker Creek Enhancement Society)

The goldfish are in the lake's shallow area in the reeds, she said.

"We think they're probably spawning," she said, "They are hanging out in shallow water and don't have the other species around them."

The group has the proper permits for electrocuting the fish and is working on finding other techniques for catching the fish once they are on the move. 

With files from the CBC's Daybreak North and Jordan Tucker and Andrew Kurjata.


To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Thousands of goldfish are being electrocuted in B.C.


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