Gateway Gazette

Unlawful Stocking of Prohibited Species Leads to Pond Closure

The closure is necessary to contain a problematic aquatic invasive species introduced to a man-made pond near Fort McMurray.

Don't Let it Loose posterThe Texaco East pond is now closed to all fishing. This closure, in accordance with Alberta Fisheries Regulations, is in effect while Alberta Environment and Parks staff verify the presence of bullhead catfish believed to have been stocked illegally in the pond. Once the species has been identified, a decision will be made on how to remove the species from the pond.

The Bullhead catfish, which was recently added to the prohibited species list through amendments in the Fisheries Act, is illegal to import into Alberta and poses significant threats to local fish populations and other aquatic life.

The province recently launched the “Don’t Let It Loose” campaign to educate the public on the damage caused by activities such as illegal stocking, aquarium/ live food fish releases, ceremonial and cultural releases, and horticultural introductions of aquatic and riparian plants.

Stocking of fish in public waters is illegal in the province, as is the removal of live fish captured from a water body. 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.

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