Aquatic invasive species have been illegally introduced to Alberta waters and are increasing competition for resources while potentially spreading disease to native species.
Whether these introductions were intentional or accidental, there are unwanted species of plants, animals and invertebrates being found across the province.
Alberta currently has more than 50 populations of goldfish living throughout the province. Other species, such as black bullhead and rosy-red minnows have also been found in ponds in Alberta. Fish aren't the only problem! Invasive plants, such as flowering rush and pale yellow iris have been introduced in Alberta as well.
Never release aquarium or domestic plants, fish, dead or alive, or pond water into waterbodies.
Releasing invasive species into waterbodies is against the law
Under the Fisheries (Alberta) Act, a prohibited species list has been created that has 52 species of aquatic invasive fish, plants and invertebrates – all of which are now illegal to import, sell, transport or possess in Alberta. Individuals releasing prohibited species into public waters can face penalties up to $100,000 and a year in prison.
For details, see: Fisheries (Alberta) Act.
Additional information and educational materials can be found on the Open Government Portal:
- Don't Let it Loose (includes Quick Facts and infographics for Goldfish and Prussian Carp)
- List of Prohibited Species (PDF, 12.3 MB)
- Aquatic Invasive Species Pocket Guide
What can you do to help?
Be a responsible pet owner! Unwanted pets can be disposed of humanely by:
- donating to schools or community organizations
- giving them away
- returning them to pet stores
Make sure to bury your fish after it passes away – flushing it down the toilet can lead to the spread of unwanted diseases.
Ensure all food purchased from live food markets is dead before leaving the store.
If you are a gardening around the water, select plants that are native to Alberta – they're more likely to thrive and are better for our province's bees, butterflies and birds.
Report any invasive species by calling 1-855-336-BOAT (2628) or by using the Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS):
For more information on the Don't Let it Loose campaign, see the Aquarium, Greenhouse and Food posters on the Open Government Portal at:
More information on invasive species can be found at:
Aquatic Invasive Species Alerts
- Aquatic Invasive Species Alert - Chinese Mystery Snail (PDF, 729 KB)
- Aquatic Invasive Species Alert - Oriental Weather Loach (PDF, 705 KB)
- Aquatic Invasive Species Alert - Yellow Floating Heart (PDF, 852 KB)