Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper shares picture of 14-inch goldfish: 'This is why you should never flush your fish!'
According to the non-profit, as a result of people setting their pet fish free their population has exploded in the great lakes, hurting the native species
The Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper group has shared a picture of a ginormous 14-inch goldfish on their Facebook page as a warning for people to not flush their pet fish down the drain. The fish was reportedly found "just downstream of the wastewater treatment plant' in the Niagara river, making the non-profit group believe that it was originally sent down someone's drain system.
In a social media post that has been extensively shared since it was put up on June 15, the group exclaimed, "This is why you should never flush your fish!" According to Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, an influx of goldfish have invaded the Great Lakes.
They added: "If you cannot keep your pet, please return it to the store instead of flushing or releasing it."
Josh Schwartz, an employee at Elmwood Pet Supplies, said people dumping their goldfish is actually common. "We've heard of people trying to do that and we talk them into giving them to us instead," said Schwartz.
He recommended calling your local pet store if your goldfish became too much to handle—the store will likely offer a trade or accept the fish as a donation.
"Goldfish are actually pretty demanding pets because they produce a lot of waste. They require a large space. It's good to do your homework before jumping into the pond with the fish," added Schwartz.
According to reports, an estimated 40 million to 50 million goldfish are said to inhabit Lake Ontario's waters in 2018.
Tys Theysmeyer, head of Royal Botanical Gardens, said that the invasive species population has exploded in recent years as a result of people setting their pets free.
As a result, shrinking food supplies have started hurting the native species. Theysmeyer noted that frigs, fish, turtle and salamander populations are all significantly down as a result. Moreover, because the Great Lakes are so huge and vital to the United States and to Canada, the government can't poison the fish or they may hinder the ecosystem even more.