WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A huge goldfish, almost the size of a kitten, was captured in the Niagara River in New York.
- It is believed to have been a home pet illegally released or flushed down the toilet.
- Goldfish are native to eastern Asia and can grow very large if living in a larger environment such as rivers and streams.
An enormous goldfish was recently caught in the Niagara River in New York. It was presumed to be a house pet illegally thrown to the river or flushed down the toilet.
In the photo, Marcus Rosten, an employee of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper (BNW), a nonprofit working to protect and restore the Niagara River and Lake Erie watershed, cradles the fish in two hands; the goldfish measures 14 inches (36 centimeters) long, said the post on Facebook.
An even more huge goldfish was found in California’s Lake Tahoe in 2013; it measured nearly 2 feet (61 cm) long and weighed in at just over 4 lbs. (2 kilograms).
According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus) that belongs to the carp family are native to eastern Asia. They are usually about 1 to 2 inches (3 to 5 cm) and grow to about 6 inches at most in length when they live in aquariums or small fish tanks.
But when goldfish lives naturally in waterways, streams and rivers, they grow even larger to about 12 to 14 inches (31 to 36 cm) long. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the first sightings of goldfish was dated to 1842 in New York waterways. A lot of other states also had sightings of goldfish in rivers and streams by the end of the 19th century.
Today, goldfish are everywhere in the waterways of New York State, “the result of illegally released pets or escapees from bait buckets,” said the DEC.
A handful of goldfish released into a Colorado lake in 2012 easily multiplied thousands in number after three years. Goldfish reproduce very quickly.
They are quite invasive and directly compete with native fish. They grow in numbers too fast and imbalance the natural biodiversity of vulnerable freshwater environments, said BNW representative to Live Science in an email.
“Aquatic invasive species that don’t naturally belong in the Great Lakes, like this goldfish, are a constant threat to the health of native wildlife populations and their habitats,” it said.
Goldfish populations are estimated to run into the tens of millions across all Great Lakes, said the BNW Facebook post.
Source: Live Science