Many invasive species have found their way to Nova Scotia with the help of people. Often the help is provided unknowingly, but other times the species are released intentionally into the wild.
While a child’s first pet is often a goldfish, there are times when the fish is no longer wanted. Unfortunately, people sometimes release the fish into a lake or river, where it can not only survive, but establish a population. In the wild, goldfish can grow very large and reproduce quickly. When they do, they can outcompete native fish for food. Lost Lake in British Columbia was closed to angling in 2019 due to goldfish taking over.
Schoolchildren sometimes learn about animals and habitat by raising snails or other small animals in the classroom. Teachers can order the species and containers from online sources. Often the species are invasive, and if released into the wild, can establish in a new area. It is important not to release species into the wild. Better yet, teachers should ensure that the species they order are not invasive in Nova Scotia.
Hobbyists often have aquatic plants in their aquariums and ponds. From time to time, they may wish to thin some of the growth out, and in some cases some of them have disposed of the material in a nearby body of water. Or a flooding situation may displace the material from a pond, allowing it to grow in the wild. Hobbyists should ensure that they only grow non-invasive plants, even in aquariums.
There are some invasive fish in Nova Scotia, like Chain Pickerel and Small Mouth Bass. These fish are predators and outcompete other fish for food, with devastating effects for native populations. Some invasive fish are introduced by anglers who want to establish populations so they can catch them.
Check out Habitattitude if you are looking for assistance in rehoming pets or disposing of plant material safely.
You don’t need to know if something is invasive or not. If it is a pet or other animal, if it is in your pond or aquarium or garden, if it is a fish, do not let it loose in the wild. It is that simple.