IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) -
There have been quite a few reports of people dumping goldfish in nearby rivers and ponds in Idaho Falls.
A lot of people like to come out to Ryder Park to just relax and enjoy some fishing, but a lot of that fun can be spoiled by dumping goldfish into the water.
Ryder Park may look like a nice place to set free a pet goldfish, but the truth is, dumping goldfish into nearby ponds and rivers ruins the natural environment for the local fish currently residing in those waters.
Brett High Regional Fisheries Manager for the Idaho Fish and Game says there are a couple of main reasons why you shouldn't set goldfish free into the waterway.
High said, "One concern is that fish get sick. They carry pathogens just like we do. Introduce a new species into a pond that could be carrying a pathogen could pose risks. Another concern is the effect that they have on the conditions of the pond and the environment."
Visitors at Ryder Park may notice the water is getting a bit murky and there is a reason for that.
High said, "Goldfish in particular, changes the water quality because they root in the bottom and dig up a lot of sediment. It makes the water turbid and hard to see. We stock trout in there for anglers to catch and they are a visual predator so if they can't see the bait then it's harder for people to catch them."
It's not mentioned on this list of park rules but setting your pet goldfish free into the pond is against the law.
"It is illegal to transport fish without a permit and that would include pet fish from your aquarium to a pond. It is also illegal to introduce fish into a waterway. There are a number of citations and legal ramifications for people doing that." said High.
If you are looking for a humane way to let go of your goldfish the East Idaho Aquarium has some tips on how you can do that.
Keli Despain, the head biologist at the east Idaho Aquarium said, "What you can do is call local pet stores they'll be willing to take them in and possibly adopt them back out again. You can also go on to Facebook where there are many groups or turn to a family member or friend who may want a pet goldfish. There is also the aquarium, you can bring them in and we can take care of them as well."
The Idaho Falls fish and game says they had issues with people putting goldfish in unnatural habitats in the past.
It was a very serious problem for the ecosystem three years ago and they would like to make sure that doesn't happen again.
Fish and game would also like to let everyone know that they are in a good place with their hatcheries and the fish they have available.
If people are out fishing in ponds and they would like to see any additional fishing opportunities, they can make a call to (208) 525-7290 and fish and game will do what they to can help out.