Officials are closing a lake in northern B.C. to recreational fishers due to an infestation of goldfish.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) announced the angling closure Thursday, as a part of a program to prevent the spread of the non-native species.
The ministry says the goldfish (Carassius auratus) were recently spotted in Lost Lake, about 1.1 kilometers from the Kitsumkalum River and about 10 kilometres north of Terrace.
The closure takes effect on Saturday, and will remain in place indefinitely.
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“Goldfish introductions have had destructive effects in British Columbia. How long goldfish have been in Lost Lake is uncertain. However, multiple sizes of goldfish are evident, which suggests they are reproducing,” said the ministry in a bulletin.
“Biologists are completing assessments of the lake to determine the extent of the goldfish population. The biologists are developing management interventions and treatment options to prevent the goldfish from spreading into the Skeena watershed.”
The Invasive Species Council of B.C. says goldfish compete with native fish for food, potentially threatening an ecosystem.
This isn’t the first time invasive goldfish have turned up in a B.C. lake.
WATCH: Goldfish pose threat to Yellow Lake ecosystem near Penticton
Back in 2017, the Ministry of Environment was called to Yellow Lake near Penticton due to an infestation of golfdfish.
They have previously been spotted in several other lakes throughout the interior.
FLNRO says releasing aquarium fish into the wild remains illegal, and is reminding the public to return any unwanted fish to pet stores rather than freeing them.
Anyone who spots invasive species is asked to call the ministry’s 24-hour Report all Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1 877 952-7277.