A goldfish invasion in a Colorado lake is threatening the ecosystem and the survival of native species.
It is illegal to dump or release non-native species into the wild. Yet some people still think they are above the law and do so anyways. However, the environmental impacts can be severe when this is done. Take Teller Lake #5 in Colorado.
Several years ago a handful of pet goldfish were dumped into the lake. Fast forward to now and the lake is completely overrun by them. This goldfish invasion is now threatening the entire ecosystem of the lake and the native fish species.
“Goldfish are not a native species and are very harmful to the local aquatic ecosystem,” said Kristin Cannon, a district wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “We strongly encourage the public not to dump their unwanted pet fish in our waters. It is bad for our environment as well as illegal.”
Most anglers are familiar with the Asian carp invasion that is taking place in some areas of the country. That is just another example of a non-native species greatly harming an ecosystem. There is currently a huge effort to keep the invasive carp out of the Great Lakes where they would cause great harm. While the Colorado goldfish invasion is not having a widespread impact, it has completely overrun Teller Lake #5.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife,
Nonnative species can be devastating to native populations by causing disease outbreaks and creating competition unbalance. It’s an issue that anyone concerned with our environment should know about.
Another related problem occurs when anglers transfer native species to different bodies of water. Although this may be done with good intentions, it can have negative effects as well.
“We work closely with anglers via creel surveys and check with local bait shops on a regular basis to find our anglers’ desires and aspirations for fishing in the state,” said Ben Swiggle, a northeast region aquatic biologist. “We carefully stock for optimum conditions to get people outdoors, offer recreational opportunities, and to better the habitat of the state.”
Hopefully this goldfish invasion in Colorado will serve as an important lesson to people who don’t understand the negative impact their actions can have on the environment.