CHASKA, Minn. (FOX 9) - The small pet you often find in fish tanks are creating huge concerns in a Minnesota county.
Along an inlet near Big Woods Lake in Chaska, thousands of goldfish appear to be settling in.
“Usually we find one or two,” said Madeline Seveland of the Carver County Water Management Organization. “This is the first time we’ve seen a population of this size in one area.”
The goldfish are invasive and can create toxic algae blooms. The goldfish are also eating the food meant for the fish native to the area.
“They can have a huge impact on the lake,” said Seveland.
“It’s alarming to say the least,” said Jessica Norby, a water resource technician. Norby recently discovered the infestation. She says she hasn’t seen anything like it.
“It is concerning, they are a hearty fish, it’s hard to get rid of them,” said Norby.
It’s unknown how the fish got there, but officials believe it’s likely from someone illegally dumping their pet goldfish. The waterway is connected to at least five other lakes and is also a popular trail spot. The noticeable, new orange hue to the water has people giving a double take.
“It makes me feel like I’m not in nature, like I’m in a pet store or koi pond and I’m not in Hawaii,” said Kim Daughton, who was walking along the trail.
While it may be tempting for a passerby to bring one of the inlet’s new residents home, county officials say it’s against the law.
“Minnesota state law states that you cannot transport live fish,” said Seveland. “[A fishing] license does not give you the appropriate license to transport live fish.”
Experts say at this point, there isn’t much they can do to get rid of the goldfish since there are so many lakes connected to the inlet. In order to prevent further invasions, they urge people should always donate pets and not leave them in woods and waterways.