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Pet owners warned not to release goldfish into rivers

Thursday August 18th 2016

Goldfish owners are being warned not to release their pets into rivers or ponds after giant species were found in Australia.

Researchers at Murdoch University in Perth caught huge goldfish which weighed up to 2kg and had grown to 30cm.

But goldfish and other domesticated species such as koi carp have been found worldwide and scientists are warning that the animals are destroying habitats for native breeds of fish by eating their eggs and uprooting plants and sediment on the river bed.

Many have been found in UK waters including a goldfish measuring 41cm and weighing 2.3kg, which was found in a pond in Poole six years ago.

The largest goldfish recorded was 48 cm long and found in the Netherlands in 2008.

Stephen Beatty, a researcher from the Centre of Fish and Fisheries at Murdoch University, has been tagging goldfish in the Vasse River near Perth and monitoring their movements.

He said: "They can stir up sediment, increasing turbidity, and they can re-suspend nutrients through their feeding activity because they cruise along the bottom hoovering sediment which can uproot plants as well.

"The key is really preventing it and getting the message out there that people shouldn't be releasing freshwater fish in artificial wetlands."

Copyright Press Association 2016