Prevent the spread of invasive fish species

Releasing live fish into Alberta waterbodies is illegal.

Invasive species of fish are being found across the province due to intentional or accidental introductions into Alberta waters. Aquarium owners and anglers can help prevent the spread.

Aquarium owners

Water gardeners, pond and aquarium owners have a number of responsibilities, including:

  • taking good care of the species that they keep
  • ensuring their artificial water environment stays isolated from the outside environment
  • when necessary, disposing of the fish or plants from that environment in a safe and humane manner

Don’t let it loose! Never dispose of plants and fish from aquariums and ponds into an Alberta stream, lake or river system. Releasing them disrupts the natural balance of Alberta's ecosystems, and ultimately results in biodiversity loss.

For example, koi and goldfish released from ponds and aquariums can survive Alberta's climate and grow to be very large. They have no natural predators in Alberta and will out-compete native species for resources.

It is illegal to release live fish into Alberta's lakes or rivers. Fines can be up to $100,000.

If you are no longer able to care for a fish from your pond or aquarium, do not release it into a lake or river. Try:

  • contacting the retailer for advice, or for a possible return
  • giving it to another aquarium or pond owner
  • donating it to a local aquarium society or school
  • talking to a veterinarian about humane disposal

Prussian carp

Invasive species Prussian carp being measured

The Prussian carp is a species of wild goldfish that has been illegally released into various waterbodies in Alberta.

This invasive fish species has established breeding populations across the province, and presents a serious threat to local aquatic ecosystems and native fish habitats. In Canada, Prussian carp has only been found in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Catch it, kill it – if you catch Prussian carp while angling, please kill it and either take it home to eat or properly dispose of it in the garbage.


Do not transfer live fish from one water body to another.

  • It is illegal to move live fish from one water body to another. Doing so disrupts the local ecosystem, threatens the existing fish population and, if a stocked fishery, jeopardizes the future of that fishery.
  • Fish that are illegally released into a stocked fishery can undermine efforts to maintain that fishery for the enjoyment of all Alberta anglers.
  • Once an illegal introduction has occurred in a stocked fishery, the efforts to restore it are extremely expensive and can bring some harm to other parts of the local ecosystem.
  • Penalties for illegally transferring fish into any water body aside from the one it was caught in can be up to $100,000 and/or a year in prison.
  • Fish introduced from outside of Canada can cause significant damage to local fish populations. Though not currently found within Canadian waters, the silver and bighead carp are threatening to find their way to the Great Lakes. These fish, introduced into US waters from Taiwan, are voracious eaters and out-compete native trout and salmon. These carp are also known for their capacity to leap out of the water, creating a hazard for water skiers and boaters.
  • To prevent the introduction of invasive worm species put unused bait back in its original packaging and put it in a garbage container.
  • Do you wear waders when you fish? Felt-soled waders are highly absorbent and, if not properly cleaned, can transfer invasive species and diseases from one water body to another. Soak them in hot water for at least 40 minutes and completely dry them after every use, or better yet, switch to non-felt-soled waders.

Learn more about the how Asian Carp could impact our waters by watching these videos:

Black bullhead

Invasive species black bullhead catfish being measured

The Texaco East pond near Fort McMurray was reopened and been restocked with rainbow trout in 2017, following an eradication treatment in 2015 to eliminate the illegally introduced black bullhead. For more information, see:

If you have seen any prohibited species listed, please call 1-855-336-BOAT (2628).