An exotic fish native to Southeast Asia turned up at North Montpelier Pond last week, according to the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Department spokesman Shawn Good said a fisherman at the pond found a dead 17-inch-long clown knifefish. The man contacted good about the unusual find to see if he could identify the fish.
“This was likely someone’s pet,” said Good in a release. “The clown knifefish is a popular species when they are young and small, but they can often outgrow the confinement of hobby aquariums.”
Good said the species can grow up to 40 inches.
While the clown knifefish can’t survive in Vermont’s chilly waters, Good said release of a different non-native species could have caused big problems.
“If this introduction had been a fish species that is able to survive Vermont’s cold water temperatures such as a snakehead, we may have had to take drastic measures to reclaim the water body,” said Good. “When this happens, we are forced to eliminate all of the fish in the pond and then rebuild the pond’s fish stock with native species.”
The department advised owners of unwanted fish to give them away to another aquarium owner or a pet shop to avoid such situations.
The release advised anyone who sees an exotic species to report them to the Department of Fish and Wildlife at 802-828-1000.