A goldfish once small enough to flush down someone’s toilet has achieved greatness in Virginia, by landing in the record books.
Jeremy Fortner from Chesterfield, Virginia, caught the “trophy fish” in Hunting Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River, and set an official state record in the process, according to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. The area is near the city of Alexandria.
The chubby fish weighed in at 3 pounds, 9 ounces, making it the biggest goldfish ever known in the state.
Goldfish are not native to Virginia, which means it likely entered state waters as a discarded pet.
“The fish measured 16 inches, had a girth of nearly 15 inches, and was officially weighed at Green Top Sporting Goods in Ashland, Virginia,” state officials said in a Facebook post.
“The introduction of goldfish to water bodies is illegal in Virginia. Pet owners should never release their aquatic organisms into the wild as unforeseen impacts can occur including disease, competition, and predation.”
News of the new state record spurred hundreds of reactions and comments on social media, including jokes about commodes being portals to Virginia’s Hunting Creek.
“Guess the goldfish wasn’t dead when they flushed him down the toilet,” David Norris posted on the Virginia Fishing Report Facebook page.
“What else can we come up with a record for?” Luke Nichols wrote on the state wildlife department’s Facebook page
“I wouldn’t call that a ‘catch,’ but (that’s) a big goldfish,” Justan C McKinney said.
The state did not say what Fortner intended to do with the fish, but website The Goldfish Tank reports they “are most likely not tasty.”
Fortner caught the fish May 22, state officials said. Biologists examined it and certified it as “Virginia Archery State Record Goldfish,” according to the release. Virginia added gold fish in the state record program in 2020 and this is the first time someone submitted one for official recognition.
The state record program currently includes fish ranging in size from a 2-pound, 2-ounce rock bass to a 68-pound, 12-ounce flathead catfish.