These images of two huge, bloated goldfish show what can happen to them when released into natural waterways.
The goldfish were pulled out of Hamilton Harbour on the western tip of Lake Ontario in the Canadian province of Ontario at the end of November.
The Fisheries and Oceans Canada government department shared images of the bloated fish on social media with the message: “Ever wonder what happens to a pet goldfish when it ends up in our waterways?”
Fisheries and Oceans Canada said staff members pulled the two huge goldfish out of the water while studying how invasive species are affecting native aquatic animals.
The government department continued: “This one was pulled from Hamilton Harbour, where we’re studying this aquatic invasive species to learn how it’s affecting our waters.
“By tracking these goldfish using acoustic tags, we’ve learned that they’re breeding in the Harbour, targeting key spawning sites for native species like Northern Pike.”
The organisation explained that the situation is a problem as goldfish can destroy natural habitats and even cause extra toxic algae in the water.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada said: “This is a big problem because in large numbers, goldfish can destroy aquatic habitats by tearing up aquatic plants for food and clouding the waters, which means less sunlight and less food for our native species.
“They can also thrive on toxic blue-green algae and may even aid in toxic algal growth.”
The Fisheries and Oceans Canada added: “Most goldfish likely end up in our waters after being released into local entry points like stormwater ponds, which is why it’s so important to never release any pets into the wild.”
A spokesperson for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) said in the comments section: “This is why it’s so important to not purchase goldfish in the first place. Goldfish are usually bred and raised in giant tubs on farms that raise as many as 250 million fish a year.
“Fish are often sold in small plastic bags; those of them who survive the trip home are then regularly doomed to live in tiny tanks or even bowls, none of which provides the space or oxygen that goldfish need.
“It’s up to all of us to stop supporting the cruel pet trade and refuse to treat these animals like objects.”
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