Saskatchewan fish tale poses cause for concern

Usually fish stories are tall tales you would do your best to ignore.

However, one fishing story to come out of Saskatchewan recently has gone viral and does warrant some cause for concern.

While visiting the lake near Boundary Dam in southern Saskatchewan this May, Landon Polk and his girlfriend Chelsea Greening noticed some large, unfamiliar fish swimming around the bottom of the lake.

When bow-fishing in the same area after the season opened in June, Polk managed to catch one of the fish. After taking the fish to a conservation officer who photographed it and sent the photos away for analysis, it turned out the fish was a koi fish.

This is unusual because koi are not native to Saskatchewan, or even Canada.

In fact, koi aren’t really native to anywhere. Like goldfish, they were bred from carp to be an exclusively domesticated species.

So, how did they end up swimming around near Boundary Dam?

Well, as you probably know, koi are popular pets as fish for private ponds all over the globe.

Most likely, someone had these fish as pets in their backyard pond, decided they had gotten too big and released them into the wild. And if that can happen in Saskatchewan, it can happen here in Alberta too.

Let’s take a moment to address that issue, poor pet ownership.

Pets are not just objects you can get rid of when you don’t want them anymore or it becomes inconvenient for you to have them.

They are living things that have needs. If you have a pet, you are responsible for looking after its needs. Can’t look after your pet’s needs? Then you probably shouldn’t have one.

If you own a pet and something happens that leaves you unable to care for it any longer, you are still responsible for putting that animal in the hands of someone who can. You can’t just drop it off at the nearest convenient corner (or waterway) and hope for the best.

In short, abandoning domesticated animals is just plain irresponsible.

Not only can releasing a pet be harmful to the animal, as you are abandoning an animal that has never had to survive on its own before, releasing a domestic or non-native animal that doesn’t belong in a certain ecosystem can have long-term effects on the area, many of them negative.

This is one such case.

So far, marine biologists have not been able to notice any substantial impact on the water of Boundary Dam due to these koi, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

As bottom-feeding fish, koi swim along the bottom of bodies of water, sucking up mud and water to eat insect larvae, crayfish, clams, plants and whatever other edibles may be available.

This means they are constantly stirring up the water and increasing its turbidity. Increased turbidity can lead to unattractive water ways, decrease in aquatic plant population and can even make waterways unsuitable for drinking or swimming.

Koi also pose a threat to other (native) species of fish because they will eat other fish’s eggs.

To make matters worse, in the case of Boundary Dam, it’s possible that the koi could get into the connecting river, allowing them to spread to other bodies of water in the province and beyond.

Polk is somewhat concerned of the threat these koi pose to the ecosystem he makes frequent use of during his leisure time.

He said anyone considering releasing domesticated animals into the wild should think twice, consider the possible consequences and not go through with such irresponsible actions.

No one is sure how many koi are in the waters near the dam, but Polk said he saw at least 30 during his initial visits in June.

He added that other ways to remove the fish, including use of dynamite and electric shock are being considered and examined as well.

Because of the possible threat koi pose to the environment, anglers are being encouraged to fish for the koi to decrease and even eliminate their numbers. Unfortunately, the fish don’t taste very nice, but hopefully maintaining the waterway’s ecosystem is enough of an incentive to get the species fished out of the area.

news@lacombeexpress.com

Just Posted

Yellow Vests protestors take to Red Deer streets

Trudeau government’s immigration and oil industry policies denounced at rally

Rebels lose to Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-1

Tigers break Rebels’ three-game winning streak

Red Deer’s newest outdoor ice facility opens to the public next week

The speed skating oval at Setters Place at Great Chief Park will be open Dec. 17th

Exhibition explores the rich history and culture of Métis people

The exhibition is on display from Dec. 15th to March 10th at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery

2019 Hockey Alberta Provincial Championship host sites announced

A total of 39 Provincial Championships will be hosted across the province

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

‘I practically begged’: B.C. woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

New home for Calgary Flames estimated to cost up to $600 million

The city and the Flames are not yet talking on who will pay how much for a building to replace the Saddledome

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Most Read