Whopper Wanda tips the scales to set New Zealand record
Wanda was a bubbly, cheerful little goldfish – the size of a piece of pineapple – living in the comfortable surroundings of her plush fishbowl.
But someone dumped her in a cove near Wanaka, and after several years of wandering the waterway, she became a 2.4 kg “monster”.
She was captured by an underwater hunter. Its weight set a New Zealand spearfishing record for wild goldfish.
Staff at the Otago Museum were so impressed with its horrific size that they decided to have it taxidermized and displayed at the museum to highlight the environmental damage fish can cause in New Zealand waters when they go wild.
Museum curator of natural sciences Emma Burns said normal goldfish weighed between 90g and 270g.
“This one is a monster.”
Wanda was one of two goldfish taxidermized by the museum. The other was black in color and weighed about 1.9 kg.
“It’s quite interesting to see that they are reaching these big sizes.
“Once they reach these sizes, they become a little less familiar to people who fish and fish in Otago’s waterways.”
Ms Burns said the orange / gold color that we consider a typical goldfish to be a sophisticated household characteristic that people have selectively bred for pet goldfish.
“So the black / bronze color of the second whopper is the wild type characteristic.
“When pet goldfish are released and bred, populations of the generation tend to revert to black / bronze rather than orange / gold.”
She said it was illegal to throw away pet goldfish and that in the Wanaka area, population was a growing problem for the Ministry of Conservation and Fisheries and Game.
“The fish graze the vegetation in ponds and burrows, thus disturbing the quality of the water.
“There are also issues that when people release / dump goldfish into freshwater systems, they also release lagarosiphon – an oxygenated weed – which is also a noxious plant species.”
The fish will now be placed in a quarantine freezer for up to four weeks. It was hoped that it would be on display at the museum early next year.