Thursday, April 9, 2015

3,000 Reasons Not To Dump Unwanted Goldfish Into A Lake...

3,000 Reasons Not To Dump Unwanted Goldfish Into A Lake
By Lottie Richard on April 7, 2015

Who would have thought that a few tiny yellow fish could cause so much trouble? Well, when they are a hearty invasive species like goldfish, the trouble spreads like wildfire.

Wildlife officials in Colorado believe that someone dumped five unwanted goldfish into a Boulder lake about two years ago, and the population has since exploded to more than 3,000.
Because the goldfish are invasive, non-native species, they are wreaking havoc on the entire aquatic ecosystem. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill explains:

“Dumping your pets into a lake could bring diseases to native animals and plants as well as out-compete them for resources. Everything can be affected. Non-native species can potentially wipe out the fishery as we’ve put it together.”

The invasive goldfish are threatening native species of fish such as channel catfish, blue gill fish, and sunfish, and brainstorming is underway as the state looks to remove the goldfish.

Currently, options include either draining the lake and collecting the goldfish, or something called “electroshocking.” Churchill says that both methods could be employed to remove the fish, and neither would kill any fish.

“With electroshocking, you go in the boat and stun the fish to paralyze and collect them. The fish could also be collected if the lake is drained.”

Once collected, the fish will be sent to a raptor rehabilitation center to be used as food. While some residents have expressed an interest in keeping some of the fish as pets, Churchill does not think it is such a good idea.

“I’m going to talk to Boulder County, who owns the lake to see what they think, but I don’t want to send the message that collecting fish for personal fun is okay”

CPW officials are asking anyone with information about who might have released the goldfish to come forward, and want to remind the public that releasing invasive species into the ecosystem is never a good idea.

About Lottie Richard:

Lottie Richard holds a BA in History and is currently working towards her graduate degree. She's been described as a bleeding heart liberal and a crunchy granola, and also as "oddly passionate" about a wide variety of topics. Lottie lives in the northeast with her husband, three-year-old daughter, and 6 pets: 3 dogs and 3 cats. In her free time she enjoys listening to jam bands and reggae music, and exploring the wilderness. Click here to buy Lottie a much-needed margarita!

 We all know the story of Chicken Little and how the sky was falling; this is a classic fable of being overly paranoid over much to due about nothing. Whenever someone that knows very little about fish or Ichthyology for that matter and then writes about assumptions of a species of fish what it will do or will not do, example: Such as being invasive and will disrupt the ecosystem of a particular body of water. Then we have a person wearing the emperors’ new clothes.

I thought I would give some insight into this story that is now making its rounds on Google Blogs and how the information given to the public can become distorted and nonfactual information. This is done so some can rule (put into law) to others into believing that the sword of Damocles is over their heads if invasive action isn’t taken immediately to rectify a problem.

The author apparently does not know the difference from the colors Yellow and Orange. Yellow Goldfish are an uncommon color in Goldfish and are seldom seen. (Genus Carassius Nilson / Carassius auratus [How to say: Kar-a´-shus: derived from the name Karass of Gesner & the word au-ra´-tus: auratus = overlaid with gold] is the correct way of saying the name in Latin.

Though this may be a trivial fact to some, it does give the ambiguity that if you can’t get this simple fact right: What makes anyone think the rest of the article has any merit or the correct information in it and is trustworthy?

The next line that Goldfish/carp are none native to North America and can become “invasive” is not altogether true. If given the right circumstances any fish can become invasive species and Goldfish are no exception to this rule. However, the Goldfishes’ colors of Bright Orange and White is not quite the best camouflaging colors for other predatorily species of fish not to notice as a foodsource. If the ecosystem is in unison with foodstuff and animal life, then the Goldfish will not become the invasive or dominating species of fish and will not upset the balancing act of the ecological habitat of the other species or animal life in that ecosystem. If this were true and they were that invasive, then our entire waterways would be flooded with these carp because they are native to North America but just not in this domesticated form of coloration that they are so well known in the hobby. They are usually Silver or Green in color and may have a very light tinge of Orange on their tails.

Also, it is not well know that the Comet Goldfishes country of origin is the good old USA and came from the common goldfish and was bred by the U.S. Government Fish Commission in Washington, D.C.. As time goes on the bright Orange coloring of these carp will leave the fish through interbreeding and they will revert back to their ancestral origins once again if left to become undomesticated just like Koi (Koi means carp in Japan.) will.

The article also makes mentioned that the five Goldfish were dumped in the Boulder Colorado Lake by no less than hobbyist two years ago. WOW! That is amazing that the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill knows this exactly. I mean how does she know it was just five and not six or seven Goldfish? I also wonder how she knows it was a persons pet Goldfish that did this and not some waterfowl or animal migrating from one lake to another carrying eggs of the fish from a pond, lake or stream? If they can predict this with such accurate numbers, then why not the numbers in the Lottery?

Quote: “The invasive goldfish are threatening native species of fish such as channel catfish, blue gill fish, and sunfish…” Now this is the biggest joke of them all. Okay, Channel catfish will eat anything that will fit into their cavum oris. Does anyone know how big a Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) can get? I will leave that one up to you Internet surfers to find out. We are talking about a fish that can reach a monstrous 58 lbs or bigger here!

Then we have the next species of fish in question that are known as the carps “ birth control pill” of fishes, from the Centrarchidae family, which are the Sunfishes and Basses. Any of the Lepomis Sunfishes will devour the eggs of Goldfish like caviar. The fact is if the foodstuffs are in plentiful supply then the Sunfishes and Basses will definitely dominate the waterways very quickly. It is not unusual for anglers here to go fishing in small lakes a pull up 75-100 Lepomis in one sitting (Because I have done just that!) and you wouldn’t see one Goldfish or carp insight. And with all the ponds we have full of Goldfish and Koi around here it is highly unlikely that these invasive Koi and/or Goldfish at one time or another were not introduced into these waterways.

When the ecosystem of a lake or pond is in unanimity with all species and the predominating game fish are those mentioned above; then Goldfish will not have a chance to disrupt that ecosystem because they will be at the bottom of the food chain and they now become other species “resources” instead of the so called invasive species as the article makes them out to be. It’s called continued existence of the most aggressive species and Goldfish are nonaggressive. That’s why they are used as feeder fish because of their convivial nature.

Goldfish go back 1,350 years now to the T’ang dynasty (618-907 A.D.) in China and they haven’t “out-competed” the native species in that country yet; so why do we think they would in ours? That’s because we Americans have over fished our lakes and ponds to death and do not place a cap on native species like the Lepomis. So when a Goldfish gets into our lakes and ponds without competition, guess what…they win native species lose.

There are many different types of Goldfish and some will grow bigger than others. The common feeder Goldfish for example is a smaller variety and was bread for the reason of feeding predatory species of fish. The Goldfish that most hobbyists keep in tanks and ponds are of this smaller variety that the US is known for. The common carp is of a bigger variety but this is not a fish kept by hobbyist. So yes, goldfish do have limitations on their size because of genetic interbreeding. In order to become bigger carp they must be interbred with Cyprinus carpio and not Carassius auratus or Carassius auratus auratus. You also have subspecies like Carassius auratus argenteaphthalmus, buergeri, gibelio, grandoculis, and langsdorfii.

Lets also not forget that these fish are the earliest known fish to be domesticated as pets. They were also the fist to be kept by hobbyist in Victorian times in the US in Aquariums and ponds and is the most commonly kept of all aquarium fish today. More Goldfish are sold each year in the USA than any other species of fish.

It is also a know fact that fish that live in warmer climates like Hawaii or Florida will grow faster and bigger than in colder climates. Some of the biggest Bass caught on record in the US are from southern states and not the colder northern states.

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