Lost Lake, around 10 kilometres north of Terrace, is home to a population of invasive goldfish. The province is surveying nearby waterbodies to find out if the population has spread. (Black Press Media file photo)

Lost Lake, around 10 kilometres north of Terrace, is home to a population of invasive goldfish. The province is surveying nearby waterbodies to find out if the population has spread. (Black Press Media file photo)

Province surveying Terrace area waterbodies for invasive goldfish spread

B.C. government planning consultation with the public regarding Lost Lake goldfish

The province is surveying waterbodies in the Terrace area to determine if two separate populations of invasive goldfish have spread.

Earliert this summer, the province and Department of Fisheries and Oceans successfully removed goldfish from a small retention pond in Terrace without the use of chemicals. That population had potential access to the Skeena River, so the province is now undergoing surveys to find out if any fish migrated downstream towards the river.

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North of Terrace, the province is also working to find out if a population of goldfish in Lost Lake has spread over time, according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

“The Lost Lake goldfish population appears to landlocked and unable to leave the lake, but to confirm this the province is continuing to survey several waterbodies in close proximity to Lost Lake,” the ministry said in an email to the Terrace Standard.

Lost Lake — around 10 kilometres north of Terrace along the Nisga’a Highway — was closed to recreational fishing when the presence of goldfish was confirmed in 2019 so that fish would not be taken from the lake.

The fishing ban is still in effect along with a prohibition of water for industrial purposes being taken. According to the ministry there are no known native fish in Lost Lake, but the concern is that goldfish could be transferred to other waterways.

Biologists have completed an assessment of the lake, and now the province says it is moving on in the process of dealing with the goldfish.

“A major component of this proposed project is consultation with the public and other stakeholder groups,” the ministry said in an email.

“Once consultation has been completed the province will determine the next steps in addressing this invasive species introduction.”

Goldfish are native to eastern Asia, but according to a Government of B.C. invasive species alert they are believed to be the first foreign fish species to be introduced to North America, as far back as the 1600s.

Not only do goldfish compete with and feed on native fish species, they disturb sediment and can raise turbidity levels, in turn harming aquatic plants.

Gail Wallin, executive director of the Invasive Species Council of BC, said in July that if officials decide to pursue chemical treatment of Lost Lake, they would use rotenone, which targets fish but does not affect plants and breaks down in the water.

She said that having goldfish that appear contained in a pond or small lake is not responsible, because flooding, birds and other animals can transfer the fish to new waterbodies.

Releasing aquarium fish into local waterbodies is illegal, and the ministry urges people return unwanted fish to pet stores instead of releasing them into the wild.

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

READ MORE: Province looking into possible chemical treatment of goldfish in Terrace area lake