Responsible anglers cut the carp in St. Albert

With many Albertans looking to spend time outside fishing, responsible angling is a
reel-y great practice to ensure we keep fish in our future. Stewardship is especially important for invasive species, like koi and goldfish, which have been caught throughout the province. Once introduced, these species can grow extremely quickly and survive through some of the toughest environmental conditions, including freezing! Their lack of predators allows these invasive species to outcompete Alberta’s fish for resources. Dedicated anglers around the province are casting the line to prevent disaster before it bites, especially in the City of St. Albert, which has had its fair share of fish-tails with invasive carp species.

St.Albert koi-Lacome Lake 1

The first catch of goldfish and koi infestations for the City of St. Albert, started back in 2015 when the City attempted to remove goldfish from the Edgewater storm water management facility. After multiple attempts of drawing down the water levels, electrofishing and even freezing the water, these hardy fish persisted throughout. To make matters worse, additional locations were also discovered, leaving more for the City to tackle. With previous removal attempts being unsuccessful, a chemical substance was the last defense and by 2017, an estimated 45,000 goldfish and koi were removed.

Then notably in 2018, Albertans were in utter koi-os when 11 year-old angler, Luke Hebb, caught a 16 lb. koi fish with hot dogs in Lacombe Lake (located in the City of St. Albert); this was the largest koi ever reported in the province. However, Lacombe Lake was no stranger to invasive species, such as koi and goldfish, as this was one of the previously identified locations found in St. Albert. Nevertheless, this record-breaking koi was a great ambassador for reconfirming that this species is merciless after its introduction and that’s no line.

St.Albert koi-Lacome Lake

Most recently, on May 29, 2020, a local angler noticed an individual heading towards Lacombe Lake with two buckets. The individual intended to release his two koi, but the responsible angler confronted him and told him dumping koi was illegal. He then called the Aquatic Invasive Species hotline (1-855-336-BOAT (2628)) to report the individual, and a Fish and Wildlife Officer was on the hook right away! The Officer followed up with the attempted dumper, who had since returned home. There the Officer learned that the individual had gotten the koi for an aquarium at home, where they grew too large for him. The owner of the koi often walks by the lake and thought it would be nice for other people to see the fish; however, he was unaware that dumping fish (invasive or not) in a waterbody is illegal. The Officer shared the environmental and ecological consequences of releasing fish into the environment. No charges were laid but IF the koi had been dumped, fines could be up to $100,000 – he was off the hook, thanks to a responsible angler!

Thankfully the local anglers in Alberta really give a flying fish and prevented koi from being reintroduced into Lacombe Lake. The City of St. Albert had recently completed their final treatments for goldfish removal in Lacombe Lake in September of 2019 – good thing we have responsible anglers on the line to help!

Always remember:

  • Be koi-ful, and don’t let it loose! Never release live animals, plants or aquarium water into the environment.
  • No need to wade around! Contact us directly through email, ais@gov.ab.ca, by phone, 1-855-336-BOAT (2628) or through EDDMapS Alberta to report aquatic invasive species.
  • Get reel about always Cleaning, Draining and Drying your gear before moving between waterbodies!
  • Caught a new species? Lure-n to identify Alberta’s 52 prohibited aquatic invasive species using our pocket guide.

 

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