Help Protect the Ecosystems in Alberta's Rivers

The Bow River ecosystem is being threatened by an abundance of Prussian carp and goldfish.

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Help Protect the Ecosystems in Alberta's Rivers

The Bow River ecosystem is being threatened by an abundance of Prussian carp and goldfish. These fish have been located in various rivers in southern Alberta and in the Bow River. In the Rosebud River to the north, the Prussian carp have basically taken over the ecosystem.

The majority of these invasive fish species have been released into the water by pet owners that no longer want them. In particular, some homeowners that have a backyard pond will drain it at the end of the summer and release their fish into the river water. Instead of allowing their fish to die, they believe that they are doing something good. In fact, releasing these fish into the rivers can cause huge problems.

The waste from the Prussian carp depletes the water's supply of oxygen. When an invasive species is introduced into a new environment, the native fish species will often suffer due to the depletion of resources. Prussian carp have a different type of lifestyle when compared to the native fish that live in the Alberta rivers.

According to the Alberta Fisheries Act, you are not allowed to release fish into a river or lake if they didn't come from it originally. The penalty for releasing your unwanted pet store pond fish into a river can be as high as $100,000.

When an ecosystem is dramatically changed it is a long-term problem that can get progressively worse over the years. When you're looking at stocking your pond for the summer, find out from the pet store what types of options they offer for disposal of the fish at the end of the season. At Big Al's Pet Supercentre, for example, fish can be returned before the start of winter if they are healthy and the customer will be provided with a trade-in value.

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