Friday, July 15, 2016

Asian carp in the Great Lakes.

Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program is asking the public to be on the lookout for Asian carp in the Great Lakes.
First brought to North America in the 1960s and 1970s, the voracious eaters have out-muscled native fish species in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, while migrating closer to the Great Lakes.
If Asian carp become established in the Great Lakes, it's feared the negative impact on the Ontario's sport fishing, and other commercial and recreational activities on the lakes, could reach several billion dollars, annually.
Asian carp consume up to 40 per cent of their body weight each day, leaving little food for native fish. Grass Carp, a variety of Asian carp, also destroy wetlands.
Asian carp also reproduce any quickly, allowing them to dominate habitats, according to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.
“There have been some reports of grass carp, but they're not currently established in the Great Lakes,” said Sarah Chadwick, a spokesperson for the federation.
An established population would mean that the fish are reproducing in the Great Lakes, she said.
The most recent Asian carp report is a 29-kilogram fish caught in the St. Lawrence River.
Since 1992, the federation has partnered with the provincial and federal governments on programs to fight invasive species, including Asian carp.
That includes a new push to educate the public about how to identify Asian carp, and encourage them to report sightings to the Invading Species Hotline, 1-800-563-7711, or by contacting the nearest Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry office.

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