Environmentalists and those concerned about the health of the Rideau Waterway system got some bad news recently, with the discovery of a new invasive species of fish in the Rideau Canal. During a fish salvage operation towards the end of last year, researchers examining the state of the ecosystem found seventeen Round Goby fish, an aggressive invasive species that reproduces quickly.
The fish originates in the Caspian Sea, thousands of miles away from the Rideau, and it is assumed it got here in the bilge water of a ship passing through the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes. However it got here, the fear is that it will have a devastating effect on the native species.
Researchers at Carleton University believe that the number of Round Gobies found in their analysis of the Rideau Canal at Edmund’s Lock means that it is too late to prevent an invasion from taking hold. It is unlikely they can be completely removed from the system at this point. The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Invading Species Awareness Program agrees with that assessment, noting that, once established, these fish are very difficult to eradicate, and the cost would be prohibitively high.
The staff at the Invading Species Awareness Program are asking the public to help by keeping an eye open for more of these Round Goby fish, and report their whereabouts to the Program.
For more information about invasive species in Ontario or to report a new sighting visit www.eddmaps.org/ontario, or call the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711.