If anyone has an audience with Pope Francis in the near future, ask the pontiff what it means when fish fall from the sky or rise up in gigantic form from the sewers. If his white pointy hat shoots straight up into the sky, we’re in trouble because that’s the news from India and Canada where fish rained in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and monster goldfish that were once flushed pets are taking over ponds in Alberta.
The fish – mostly valaga or wallago fish 4-to-6 inches in length - were found alive and flipping by farmers after heavy monsoon rains on June 19 near the village of Vijayawada These fish may have survived the fall because they fell in wet and swampy fields. Scenes from the city show people picking up fish that appear to be dead or dazed. It's speculated that these fish were lifted out of nearby rivers and canals and possibly the Bay of Bengal by the strong monsoon winds that preceded three days of heavy downpours. While most people found the fish after the rain stopped, at least one witness said he saw the fish falling.
The monster goldfish commandeering ponds in Alberta are just the latest instance of a growing problem – pet goldfish being flushed down toilets or more likely dumped into ponds and lakes where they grow to dinner plate sizes (and if you’ve seen our dinner plates in the U.S., you know how huge that is). What’s worse, these four pound, 19-inch-long gold monsters are upsetting the ecosystems by eating all the food (after a steady diet of fish flakes, it’s understandable), displacing local species and spreading diseases and parasites.
In addition to Alberta, giant goldfish have been reported recently in Lake Tahoe between California and Nevada and in the waterways of Western Australia and the problem is spreading worldwide. Wildlife experts are asking people to stop dumping their goldfish while they figure out how to rid the waters of this invasive species.
If Pope Francis has anything biblical to say about these events, he’d probably agree with the farmers in India that the fish from the sky is a “miracle” while the monster goldfish in Alberta are a man-made “plague.”