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Rotenone pesticide to be used to handle goldfish infestation

Taking care of the goldfish infestation is critical for the Town of Sylvan Lake
Lakeway Landing Storm Pond. (Photo from the Town of Sylvan Lake Facebook page)

A goldfish infestation at Lakeway Landing Central Storm Pond is posing a risk to the local ecosystem. 

Since finding out about the infestation, the Town of Sylvan Lake has actively been addressing it through efforts led by the Environmental Services team. 

"We have used several mitigation methods and will continue to use the resources we have available to remove the fish from this water body. Doing nothing is not an option," said environmental services manager, Monique Johnson.

In Canada, the chemical treatment option of using liquid rotenone to deal with this sort of infestation is allowed. 

Rotenone is an organic compound extracted from the roots and stems of certain tropical plants. Rotenone works by disrupting the oxygen uptake through the gills in fish, which causes the fish to suffocate. 

Rotenone only affects aquatic organisms like goldfish, so it will selectively target the fish populations without harming other organisms in the ecosystem. 

Johnson said one issue with rotenone is that it is hard to acquire. 

"Liquid rotenone is the only approved pesticide option in Canada for addressing the infestation of aquatic invasive species, particularly goldfish. However, in 2022, the sole manufacturing facility for liquid rotenone in North America ceased operations, making it difficult to acquire the product." 

As well, dry-form rotenone is not currently approved for use in Canada. 

The Town of Sylvan Lake is hoping that the Alberta government will grant approval for the use of dry-form rotenone to deal with the issue.

As part of this effort, council approved the Goldfish Infestation and Emergency Approval of Powder-Form Rotenone Pesticide resolution during the council meeting on May 13. 

"The aim of this proposed resolution is to ask the Province of Alberta to petition for the approval of the dry form rotenone," Johnson said. 

Getting rid of the goldfish is critical, she added. 

"It is critical that the goldfish do not make their way through the storm system to Sylvan Lake." 

Infestations like this happen because people are illegally dumping their pets into the pond, Johnson said. 

"Do not dispose of your pet into any water body. Not into the lake, streams, rivers, or ponds." 




Sarah Baker

About the Author: Sarah Baker

I joined Black Press in March 2023 and am looking forward to sharing stories about the local communities.
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