THE Province is warning the public not to release aquarium fish into streams, rivers or lakes, after biologists discovered an invasive species breeding in a local stream.
Rosy red minnows, an ornamental variety of the fathead minnow, have been found in a stream east of Prince George. These small fish are commonly sold by pet stores as feeder fish for other species. They are not native to northern B.C.
Invasive fish species can severely impact other aquatic species. They are a major threat to B.C.’s freshwater fisheries through effects of competition, predation, parasites and disease. Once established, they are difficult and expensive to remove.
The stream where rosy red minnows have been found flows into a tributary of the Fraser River. Competition with native species and potential ecological impacts, both in the stream and in downstream waterways, are unclear.
This is the first such incident reported in the Omineca region. Ministry staff are actively developing options to manage the situation.
Releasing aquarium fish into local natural waterways is illegal. The ministry urges the public to return any unwanted fish to pet stores, rather than releasing them into the wild.
Violations can be reported by calling the 24-hour Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1 877 952-7277, or online by visiting: https://forms.gov.bc.ca/environment/rapp/
For more information about invasive species and to download the provincial invasive species app, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/invasive-species