Predatory fish ‘dumped’ into Maple Ridge creek

Garpikes have a voracious appetite

A dead garpike was found in Kanaka Creek Regional Park. Such fish could harm native salmom

A dead garpike was found in Kanaka Creek Regional Park. Such fish could harm native salmom

Next time you have an exotic fish you can’t take care of, maybe don’t throw it in a local stream.

It could spread disease and harm native salmon in the creek, or it could just go on a tear and start gobbling up smaller fish or even little ducklings.

Ross Davies, with the Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society, said whoever owned the garpike recently found in Kanaka Creek Regional Park should have found another way to get rid of the fish.

The garpike is found in the eastern U.S. and is a warm-water fish with a voracious appetite.

According to Wikipedia, gars are members of the Lepisosteiformes (or Semionotiformes), an ancient order of “primitive” ray-finned fish; fossils from this order are known from the late Cretaceous onwards.

Either the fish had outgrown its tank or it was eating somebody out of house and home, Davies said.

“It’s heavily predacious. It mostly eats other fish,” but also can eat ducklings, Davies said.

If someone released the fish during the summer, it could have had a killing and eating spree until winter arrived.

Davies said stream levels in Kanaka Creek are sufficient. “The cold spring has been slow for salmon development.” But that may mean water levels in the creek may stay up during the hotter months.

KEEPs is busy, offering 57 stream education programs this year reaching about 1,000 participants. The society is holding a “Weed Busters Day” July 9 at the Kanaka Creek fish fence on 240th Street. Volunteers are welcome to show up and spend a couple hours pulling invasive plants from nearby parts of the park so they don’t choke out natural vegetation in the streamside areas.

One of the main targets will be purple policeman’s helmet, an invasive from Japan and China.

“It goes crazy over here. We just keep going after the same site, time after time.”