P.E.I. wildlife officials recently hauled 220 goldfish — an invasive species — from a local river, which they believe had recently been released there.
A conservation officer spotted the fish in a pond just below a dam and reported their presence.
The fish were isolated in the pond, and officials used special electrical gear to stun them so they could be removed.
"We really don't want to see them in our rivers at all," said provincial freshwater fisheries biologist Roseanne MacFarlane.
"They could be carrying diseases or parasites that might affect our native fish. And they also take up space in a river. So they're competing with other fish that are there for food and space. And they can simply become a nuisance in some areas. If they get into a pond and they are constantly rooting in the bottom to get their food, they can create turbid conditions."
The fish were euthanized, which is commonly done by a knock on the head.
MacFarlane said no very young fish were collected, so she doesn't believe they'd been there long enough to start breeding and suspects they were released as a group.
'They live a very long time'
Goldfish are kept by many Islanders in aquariums and backyard ponds, but MacFarlane said people should consider carefully before buying goldfish or koi, another popular domestic fish that is considered an invasive species.
"They live a very long time, some of these fish, and they're a big responsibility. You have to look after them in all seasons and expect that you're going to end up with more than you initially had," she said.
"It's never an option to take them out of your property and put them into the wild into a P.E.I. river or pond."
It's not just a problem for the environment, MacFarlane said. It's also illegal.
So far, she said P.E.I. hasn't had a problem with goldfish or koi populations getting out of control in the wild.
If you have goldfish you can no longer take care of and don't want to euthanize them, the P.E.I. Humane Society will rehome fish.