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Biologists warn against releasing fish into rivers

 Goldfish are a popular pet, not to mention a sign of good luck. Yet many seem to be outgrowing their bowls and are being released into Alberta’s rivers-threatening native species.

Biologists have spent the summer electro-fishing, which involves pulsing electricity into the water and forcing the fish to swim towards them so they can take inventory.

This year, they’ve come across a large number of Prussian Carp, which are actually from Siberia. Paul Christensen, a senior fisheries biologist, said that is cause for concern.

“These goldfish or Prussian Carp are coming from an unknown source that we have no control over,” he said. “They could be carrying parasites from all over the world that have unknown effects on our native fish.”

Biologists judge the age of fish by their size, and it appears the goldfish are not only breeding but thriving in Alberta’s rivers. They can even survive in some oxygen conditions where native fish species would perish.

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“The most important message for the public is that they aren’t putting any fish into any water body,” Christensen said. “That’s jurisdiction of the government of Alberta and that’s what our role is.”