Scientists fear that the carp will outcompete native species for both food and space.
“Asian carp are definitely the number one priority species we’re trying to keep out of the Great Lakes system,” Becky Cudmore, a senior science advisor on aquatic invasive species at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, told CTV’s Peter Akman.
But while this large, ungainly fish continues to present a potential threat, one of its smaller relatives is already here and causing grief:
Tys Theysmeyer, the head of natural lands at the lakefront Royal Botanical Gardens, near Hamilton, Ont., says goldfish populations have exploded in recent times. The source, he says, is people setting their pets free — a simple act that’s decimating the ecosystem by shrinking food supply for native species.
“Populations of frogs, fish, turtles, salamanders — they’re all significantly down,” Theysmeyer explained.
Canadian experts estimate there are 40 to 50 million goldfish just in Lake Ontario. And the problem isn’t limited to the Great Lakes:
In Western Canada, cities like St. Albert, Alta., near Edmonton, are facing their own goldfish invasions.
Crews have been spraying the city’s tiny Lacombe Lake recently with poison, killing everything in the water in the hopes of wiping out a massive population of invasive goldfish and koi.
So far, not so good.