Landlocked carp left to die as floodwaters recede

Two months after floodwaters along the Ottawa River receded, large carp remain trapped in shrinking pockets of water that dot an area of west Ottawa. It's illegal to move the fish, so they're being left to die — and rot.

Law prevents residents from moving trapped fish to Ottawa River, just 100 metres away

Many of the fish trapped in stagnant pools in Ottawa's Crystal Beach neighbourhood have already died. (Stu Mills/CBC)

Two months after floodwaters along the Ottawa River receded, large carp remain trapped in shrinking pockets of water that dot an area of west Ottawa. 

The fish, some up to 60 centimetres in length, can't escape the stagnant pools off Rocky Point Road in the city's Crystal Beach neighbourhood. Many have already died.
Paul Lovisa has lived on Rocky Point Road since 2002, and had never seen carp in the swampy area near his home until this year. (Stu Mills/CBC)

"A few days ago, I was coming down to the mailbox and I heard a big splash," said resident Paul Lovisa, who has lived adjacent to the swamp since 2002.

"Went down, took a look, and there was a bunch of carp swimmming around in the water!"

Lovisa predicts the water will be gone by August.

"That's why it's such a unique kind of thing. The water was so high this year that I guess they were able to swim in, but unfortunately they're not able to swim out."
A carp appears at the surface of the shallow pool. (Stu Mills/CBC)

At the edge of one pool a half-dozen rotting carp carcasses, and the smell that goes with them.

Concerned about the growing odour, Lovisa said he considered netting the fish himself and releasing them in the Ottawa River, just 100 metres away, but learned that's illegal.

Under Ontario law, residents need a special licence to transport live fish.

Unwilling to risk a fine, Lovisa said he's stuck, and so are the carp.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources called the situation unfortunate, but said the MNR doesn't have the resources to move the fish to deeper water.

Homeowners are concerned about the smell from rotting fish carcasses. (Stu Mills/CBC)