BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper is reminding you not to flush goldfish after a giant goldfish was found in the Niagara River. The group posted a photo of a 14-inch goldfish that was caught just downstream of the wastewater treatment plant.
The photo of the fish caught in the Black Rock Canal is actually a few years old. An employee of the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper found the fish during a sampling run while working for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife department. The eye-catching photo was posted recently as an educational opportunity. "We want to remind people that anything they flush down the toilet may end up in the water because of our sewer overflow problem in Buffalo," says Chris Murawski, Director of Community Engagement at Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper.
Murawski says any overflow, including pet fish, bacteria, waste and trash can end up in Western New York's waterways after a storm, harming the health of the natural ecosystems and posing a health risk to humans.
The Facebook by the waterkeeper post goes on to say that goldfish can survive year-round, and destroy the habitat of native fish. Scientists are estimating there are tens of millions of goldfish in the Great Lakes.
Josh Schwartz, an employee at Elmwood Pet Supplies, says people dumping their goldfish is actually common. "We've heard of people trying to do that and we talk them into giving them to us instead," says Schwartz. He recommends calling your local pet store if your goldfish becomes too much to handle—the store will likely offer a trade or accept the fish as a donation. "Goldfish are actually pretty demanding pets because they produce a lot of waste. They require a large space. It's good to do your homework before jumping into the pond with the fish," adds Schwartz.