Dumped aquarium fish endanger eco health

Swan River Trust senior environmental manager Jeff |Cosgrove. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d400837
Swan River Trust senior environmental manager Jeff |Cosgrove. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d400837

Populations of koi carp, goldfish, pearl cichlids, swordtails, guppies, silver perch and spangled perch have been detected in the Swan Canning catchment.

Swan River Trust senior environmental manager Jeff Cosgrove said the feral fish most likely entered the Riverpark through people dumping unwanted fish.

‘The Trust urges people not to release aquarium fish into ponds, rivers, creeks, dams, artificial lakes or stormwater drains because they can connect to our waterways,’ he said.

‘Introduced freshwater fish can affect our catchment in the same way feral foxes, cats and rabbits cause damage to the landscape because exotic fish compete with native species for habitat and food.

‘Small ornamental fish, common in the freshwater aquarium trade, cause big problems in our waterways because they can flourish and compete with native species.

‘This puts further pressure on native fish already stressed by other environmental pressures such as climate change.’

There have been efforts to remove feral fish from the Riverpark and the catchment.

The Trust, Murdoch University and the Department of Fisheries have recently been targeting pearl cichlids.

Mr Cosgrove added it was important people chose aquarium fish carefully to ensure fish were suitable.

‘Any unwanted fish should be returned to the aquarium dealer or should be disposed of humanely.’

– Report sightings to Fishwatch on 1800 815 507.