'It's very dangerous': Why you shouldn't release your koi fish into local waters
'It's very dangerous to have one of those in our ecosystem'
A koi fish was caught in the Tignish, P.E.I., area by the Tignish and Area Watershed Management Group over the weekend — and it has the province reminding Islanders to avoid releasing non-native species into Island waterways.
Koi are native to Asia and Central Europe, though they're often kept in aquariums or backyard ornamental ponds.
Find someone else who might take the fish, or euthanize it humanely, but do not put it in a nearby stream.— Rosie MacFarlane
The watershed group's project co-ordinator Chavonne Gavin says the koi was discovered on Friday and captured by Saturday.
One of her staff had assumed it was a buoy in the water before realizing it was a koi fish.
"I was quite shocked — especially at the size of it," Gavin said, adding that the fish was about 50 centimetres (20 inches) long and weighed almost three kilograms (six pounds).
"It's very dangerous to have one of those in our ecosystem," she explained.
'Do not put it in a nearby stream'
Rosie MacFarlane, a freshwater fisheries biologist with the province, explained that koi fish could compete with local fish for food and space, and they could carry disease.
MacFarlane said she can't know for sure, but it's possible the koi was released into the stream by its previous owner.
"At this point, we're just telling people that if you do have a koi in your backyard pond, maybe it's outgrown your pond or you're just not able to look after it anymore — find another suitable way. Find someone else who might take the fish, or euthanize it humanely, but do not put it in a nearby stream," she stressed.
The koi that was found has since been euthanized by the watershed group.
Gavin explained that because the fish had already adapted to the brook in which it did not belong, the group was unable to release it into a new pond — like someone's ornamental pond — because it likely would not have survived.
Euthanizing it was the humane thing to do, she said.
The fish was brought to MacFarlane on Monday, who took it to the Atlantic Veterinary College to have it checked.
MacFarlane said this is the second time a koi fish has been found on P.E.I. in the last year — one was caught in the Morell River last fall.
In addition to koi fish, MacFarlane explained that goldfish and turtles have also appeared in Island waterways when they shouldn't naturally be there.