As of June 22, the province has banned recreational fishing in Lost Lake in an effort to prevent invasive goldfish from outnumbering native species.
Located approximately 10km north of Terrace on Kalum Lake Road, there have been multiple reports of goldfish found in the Lake, reads a press release from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
The goldfish, specifically identified as Carassius auratus, is considered an invasive and destructive species in B.C. It is unknown how long they have inhabited Lost Lake, but are known to compete for food and to prey upon native fish.
They have been observed in different sizes, which the ministry says might be an indication that they are reproducing.
Biologists have been called in to assess the goldfish population, along with finding solutions to manage and intervene using treatment options to prevent the spread of the invasive species into the Skeena Watershed.
According to the ministry, releasing aquarium fish into local, natural water bodies is illegal and they urge the public to return any unwanted aquatic pets to pet stores instead of the wild.
Throughout the province, there have been several reports of self-sustaining populations of goldfish, with many located in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
In 2016 volunteers took to the waters to electrocute an infestation in Dragon Lake near Quesnel. Over 4,500 goldfish were zapped in a span of two days.
The public is still permitted to visit the lake, but angling is not allowed until further notice to prevent disruption of other native species.
Once management action is decided, access to the lake may be restricted for a period of time to allow provincial staff to resolve the issue.
Observations of invasive species can be reported by calling the 24-hour Report all Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1 877 952-7277, or online: www.gov.bc.ca/invasive-species