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What’s up with the monster fish swimming in Byrd Park?

Posted at 4:59 PM, Jun 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-03 07:24:31-04

RICHMOND, Va. – Is it time to cue the scary music? Is it safe to paddleboat or dangle your feet in the water?

Viewers were curious as to what species a fish belongs to that was recently spotted in Byrd Park Fountain Lake. CBS 6 photographer Lamar Person was out after dawn Tuesday and he filmed several suspicious fins protruding from the water.

Byrd Park carp

Officials with Game and Inland Fisheries said the fish appears to be a grass carp.

Did someone dump an unwanted piranha into the quaint city lake?

Relax.

Officials with Game and Inland Fisheries said the fish appears to be a grass carp. Lakes around the city are stocked with several different species of fish, including  largemouth bass, bluegill, green sunfish, yellow perch, and brown bullheads.

But the lake in Byrd Park is not recommended for fishing. Because of a history of fish kills caused by oxygen depletions, the department no longer stocks channel catfish in this lake. A few small sunfish and largemouth bass still inhabit the lake.

CBS 6 reached out to the City’s Park and Recreation Department, but no one responded by the time of publication. There is no online listing that states grass carp are being stocked by the department.

In April, Chesterfield County officials invested in a second round of grass-eating carp, at a total expense of $7,740.

This species is used to control algae and aquatic weeds, VDGIF officials said.

“It’s similar to mowing your lawn,” George B. Hayes, the county’s director of utilities, said in an interview with Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Ned Oliver, in April. “The carp keep the hydrilla mowed.”

And thusly, park goers and paddle boaters everywhere breathed a sigh of relief. Case closed.

For now.