The provincial government is still studying the impact of invasive goldfish on B.C. lakes, including a popular fishing spot outside Penticton.
Goldfish, likely dumped by an aquarium owner, were first discovered in Yellow Lake back in 2015. Since then, they have flourished, with anglers reporting large shoals of bright orange or silver carp with relative frequency.
Significant winter kill that impacted Yellow Lake in 2018, killing many of the lake’s larger rainbow trout, does not appear to have slowed the spread of the goldfish. They have an ability to survive much lower oxygen levels than native species.
“The Ministry of Environment continues to work with academic partners on conducting a risk assessment of goldfish and what their impacts could be in BC lakes,” the Minister of Environment said in a statement to Castanet News this week.
“The Yellow Lake goldfish are surviving over winter and the temperature tolerances of goldfish and their ability to survive in BC lakes will be looked at as part of the risk assessment.”
The ministry says the risk assessment will also look at what exactly the goldfish are feeding on and how they could be competing with, or feeding on, native species. The study is expected to be completed next year.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. stocked Yellow Lake with close to 24,000 and rainbow trout and 5,000 Kokanee this year.
In other jurisdictions, goldfish have been devastating to ecosystems. Their faster rate of reproduction, ability to survive in harsh conditions, carry disease, and feeding method that sees them dig up lake beds means they have been outcompeting native species in lakes in Alberta, Ontario and the United States.
The provincial government closed fishing on Lost Lake, near Terrace, this summer due to a goldfish infestation.