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Scientists Confirm Asian Carp Reproducing in Great Lakes Watershed

October 31st, 2013

A U.S. Geological Survey and Bowling Green University report released Monday confirmed that at least one species of Asian carp – grass carp – are reproducing in the Great Lakes watershed.

Grass carp found in Lake Erie were determined to be capable of reproduction. Though not as destructive as silver or bighead carp, grass carp are also an invasive species, require similar conditions for reproduction and survival and can also disrupt aquatic habitats.

“I can safely say that my members would say the failure of the federal government to act on permanent separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River is . . . unconscionable,” said Erin McDonough, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs, in an interview with MIRS News. She also suggested that the state create an emergency response fund to contain Asian carp.

Asian carp disrupt aquatic ecosystems by out-competing native species for species at the bottom of the food chain, starving out species higher up like popular sport fish. If they become established in the Great Lakes, they could disrupt the region’s $7 billion sport fishing industry as well as the ecology of the lakes.

Originally imported to southern United States aquaculture facilities to clean retention ponds, Asian carp escaped into the Mississippi River and have proceeded steadily northward, disrupting the river’s fishery along the way. They’ve been found in the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal which artificially connects the Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds and their eDNA, which detects their presence, has been found on the lakeward side of electronic barriers designed to keep them out of Lake Michigan.

The Lake Erie finding is the first time a species of Asian carp has been confirmed to be reproducing within the Great Lakes watershed.

  • Garyt

    were we not assured, recently, that this would not happen. Shows that Illinois politicians will bow to commercial influence faster than Michigan. Wonder what justification we will be offered this time for inaction. We will probably have to learn to eat and love to eat carp.

  • Szumi

    I believe the plan is to kill the Great Lakes and then send the water to California.

    • 07Dyna

      I’d laugh in years past, but anymore, but you’re probably spot on.

  • Lake Michigan Salmon Fisherman

    All carp, even the big brown ones we grew up catching, are invasive species! Grass carp are something of a game fish in the Florida canals, apparently fun to catch.

  • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

    Hey, lake Michigan salmon fisherman, your comment makes me wonder what you do with the salmon you catch! I like to eat the salmon, lake trout, steelhead, brown trout, walleye and perch I catch. I can’t imagine having to replace them with ASIAN CARP of any kind.
    My first thought would be legal action against Chicago and the state of Illinois, but by the time that got anywhere we would all be eating Asian carp. Maybe with a large enough flash mob and a couple dozen truck loads of cement we could seal off those damn canals and solve the problem ourselves.
    Any takers?

    • Larry Butts

      The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal is controlled by and under the jurisdiction of the US Corps of Engineers. The State of Illinois and Chicago are not who you need to sue.

      By the way, there are several tributaries that would allow these fish to reach the great lake if you were to close the canal – so think of a better plan. You should also consider the fact that the Ohio river connects to the Mississippi river too. This is a much bigger problem than you might think.

      This is a huge problem and we need serious people to take action. Flash mobs ain’t going to do it.

  • Dan

    Based on an article published in the Detroit Free Press, Sunday, 7/17/11, the experts do not include grass carp in the same threat category as other Asian carp when it comes to Michigan’s sport fishing and commercial fishing industries because grass carp do not compete for the same food as native species as the above article suggest.

    • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

      So what do they eat, something that’s not in the lake? Of course they compete with native species, it’s just a matter of how and how much.

      • Dan

        No native species eat the grass that the grass carp eat

        • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

          Any eggs in that grass?

  • Tom M.

    Alewives eat the same zooplankton we don’t want Asian Carp to eat, alewives also eat larval native perch, walleye etc. that we also don’t want asian carp to eat. So naturally the plan is to fill lake Michigan back up with alewives? In Oct. D.Chapman our top asian carp expert admits asian carp be controlled with predators. The Feds admit we have native predators for juvenile asian carp, but have to be abundant. So restoration of native fish/predator population is called for. We have native predators for the invasives we have now that don’t grow too big, so it’s obvious we don’t have enough. There’s is no threat of having too many native fish (only to invasive species) the threat asian carp pull off a spawn very real, it goes fast after that. Snagging asian carp is not fishing, rather catch Perch and Walleye, let them catch/control the carp. Delagate carp control to nature much better at it than us!

    • codfather

      What?

  • Happy fisherman

    I have had the opportunity to fish MI rivers for Steelhead and salmon for about 40 years. Until the last couple years I stopped fishing for salmon due to the “snaggers”. Their techniques make fishing for steelhead tough with the constant chucking of lead 24 hours a day. When I first heard of the Asian Carp, I figured it would be about 5 years before they made their way into our Great Lakes. Hopefully, their presence won’t cause our great fishery to suffer more than it does at the present with issues due to “Invasive” species. I’d just to say I am great full for the times I had in the 70′s, 80′s and early 90′s fishing for steelhead on many of our MI. rivers. Good Luck in the future…..going fishing now as the “snaggers” are about done and the steelhead are on the feed.

  • Joshua Jackiewicz

    I would like a check in the kalamazoo river downstream from Allegan dam, Seems like they are there too, But I have only seen photos of 40 lb fish.

  • Tom Matych

    Regardless the top priority right now is to fill Lake Michigan back up with alewives. The same thing as having billions of baby Asian Carp.

  • Drew YoungeDyke

    Let’s keep the conversation civil, folks.

  • codfather

    Many species, such as perch, spawn on the weeds you don’t care about. You actually have absolutely no idea what the introduction of grass carp, or any other new invasive species, will have on the Great Lakes ecosystem. You’ve seen a bluegill bed so now you are an expert. Believe everything you read? No one actually knows what an introduced species will do, even the “experts”. Stop drinking Dan, your brain needs a dry out.

  • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

    I personally prefer to catch and eat the steelhead and brown trout over the lakers (somewhat) but wonder if their introduction, while not the cause of the laker population crash, hampers their recovery. I am an avid trout fisherman and part time guide and am fully aware that there are no native trout in Michigan. What do you think?

  • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

    Thanks for the support! Knowledge is power.

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