Minnesota is often regarded as one of the best states for fishing. With its 10,000 lakes, the state features incredible walleye, northern pike, and muskie fishing. However, some of those lakes are home to much brighter colored and much larger fish.
During the summer, the state started getting reports of goldfish popping up in the lakes. However, these goldfish aren’t the type you had as a kid. Instead, these specific goldfish are the size of your average football.
Recently, city officials in Burnsville, Minnesota, just south of Minneapolis, shared snaps of several football-sized goldfish. Someone had discovered the abnormally-sized fish in a local lake. The state also warned residents to refrain from releasing their goldfish in open waters.
The city tweeted: “Please don’t release your pet goldfish into ponds and lakes! They grow bigger than you think and contribute to poor water quality by mucking up the bottom sediments and uprooting plants.” They added, “Groups of these large goldfish were recently found in Keller Lake.”
A variety of individual carp species, the goldfish in question, not the ones found in fish tanks, are originally native to the freshwaters of east Asia. For over 1,000 years, people have bred goldfish for their color and kept them as pets.
Minnesota Officials Urge Residents To Not Discard Goldfish In Its Lakes
Unfortunately, once people grew bored of their pet goldfish, they decided to release them into nearby bodies of water. Since the fish could adapt to various lakes and ponds, they grew larger, seeing as a fish tank didn’t confine them.
The average, tank-kept goldfish typically tops out at 2-inches long or up to 6-inches in larger tanks. Yet, unconfined goldfish can grow more than a foot long. Currently, the largest goldfish ever recorded was 19-inches long.
Additionally, other states aren’t immune to this issue. In 2021, anglers in Virginia and Missouri caught other giant goldfish believed to be someone’s pets.
The goldfish in Virginia was a whopping 16 inches long and weighed almost 4-pounds. The goldfish in Missouri was a butterfly koi, which are also called goldfish. It weighed in at nine pounds. A Kentucky man once used a leftover biscuit in 2019 to catch a 20-pound koi that made him go viral on the internet.
As for ecological damage, a single Goldfish in a lake doesn’t pose much of a threat. However, once there is a larger population of goldfish in a body of water, things could get hairy.
Per WBUR News, goldfish are opportunistic feeders that munch on plants, insects, and crustaceans. As a result, they eat food from the native creatures. Their feeding can also cause chaos for the aquatic vegetation and cause even more significant problems for the ecosystem.
In addition, this isn’t Minnesota’s first time dealing with the goldfish. Last November, roughly 50,000 goldfish were removed from waterways in Carver County, Minnesota.