City facing fishy post-flood problem: dozens of wayward carp

As part of the ongoing flood cleanup efforts, some City of Ottawa employees have been handed a particularly fishy assignment.

Large fish ended up stranded when waters receded

From left to right, City of Ottawa workers Sam Esser, Ryan Cox, and Matt Rozak hold up some of the carp they've rescued and returned to the Ottawa River. (Courtesy Brian Bezaire)

As part of the ongoing flood cleanup efforts, some City of Ottawa employees have been handed a particularly fishy assignment.

When the Ottawa River receded, it left dozens of carp stuck in pools of standing water, unable to get back to the waterways they call home.

Brian Bezaire, a co-ordinator with the city's environmental support services branch, has now been helping catch the wayward fish and return them to the river.

"We were out a couple of days ago, and we have taken out almost 200 fish," he said.

How big were the fish his team caught? Most of them tipped the scales at between seven and 14 kilograms, according to Bezaire — and none have been less than four kilograms.

City workers attempt to pull carp from the water so they can be returned to the Ottawa River. (Courtesy Mark Paradis)

He said it appears the fish came in with when the waters rose, and when the water level went down, they were stranded in low-lying spots.

"We have been capturing them — either just grabbing them or using nets — and keeping them safe and healthy," Bezaire said.  

Bezaire and his co-workers normally help oversee the city's stormwater facilities, so they've dealt with fish before.

They have been responding to complaints from residents, and while Bezaire said he's confident they have most of the stranded carp, they're happy to wade in to the issue again if more calls arrive.

After all, people in flood-ravaged communities have enough on their hands, Bezaire said.

"They have had to deal with a lot over the past few weeks," he said. "So it is nice to help them out."


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