'Football-sized goldfish' invading Australian waterways

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'Football-Sized Goldfish' Invading Australian Waterways

Pet goldfish are typically small and harmless animals, but they have become a threat to the Western Australian waterways, notes The Australian.

Researchers from Murdoch University working on a control program for the species tracked the freshwater inhabitants using acoustic receivers set along the Vasse River.

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According to a recent news release by the university, the team found out that unwanted goldfish dumped into the area's lakes can actually grow to the size of a football.

(Photo credit: Murdoch University)

Dr. Stephen Beatty, one of the researchers, said, "The goldfish population in the nutrient rich Vasse River has existed for over two decades and has the fastest known individual growth rate of this species in the world."

In fact, the team encountered many weighing more than two pounds, with the largest exceeding four pounds, notes ABC News.

In addition to size, the goldfish were also found to have the ability to travel long distances throughout the year including one which swam for more than 142 miles.

The news release explains that native to eastern Asia, goldfish are a highly invasive and hard-to-eradicate species spreading through waterways around the world.

Dr. Beatty explained, "invasive fish can potentially impact water quality, introduce disease, disturb habitat and compete with native species putting them under serious pressure."

The team hopes that this research into their behavior can help with containment efforts.

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