MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s hard to think one of the most popular childhood pets, the goldfish, as alarming. But finding them in nature is just that.
“We’ve got an infiltration of goldfish, they’re an invasive species,” said Jess Norby of Carver County Water Management
You can see swarms of goldfish along the shores of part of the Grace Lake Chain in Chaska.
“I thought they were just coy fish because they’re big,” said hiker Faye Kannenberg.
It’s believed the goldfish were dumped here as unwanted pets, and the Chaska Lake chain is the perfect breeding ground for them.
“Because they have no natural predators, they’ve just multiplied,” Norby said.
With no known enemies, the fish have taken over many shorelines, locations meant for other fish.
“They compete for the same food and shelter, so with this amount, they’re probably detrimental to the native fish populations here,” Norby said.
You can easily see the reflective orange fish in the top of the water, but what you don’t see are the three times the amount of dark-colored fish.
“Goldfish typically are orange. It take several generations for them to lose color. So with the amount of brown ones in here, they’ve probably been in here for several years,” she said.
Unfortunately, we are in uncharted waters when it comes to getting rid of the goldfish.
“You can’t just remove them to a normal level. You have to remove all of them, or they’ll just keep spawning,” Norby said.
And officials want to remind people you can’t just come scoop the goldfish out of the lake.
“It is illegal to transport live fish in the state of Minnesota, so we … strongly encourage people to not come out here and pick up a fresh one for their own home aquarium.”
The Carver County Water Management group says they are working on solutions to get the goldfish out of the water, and have even had researchers from the University of Minnesota reaching out to them with suggestions to the problem.