DFO and MNR confirm detection of one grass carp in the Grand River near Lake Erie

BURLINGTON–Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources announced the test results of a single live grass carp (a species of Asian carp) caught near Dunnville, Ontario in the Grand River, near Lake Erie. Testing has confirmed that this specimen was sterile, and therefore not able to reproduce.

“The Great Lakes are important to the economic and cultural make-up of Canadians who live and work on these waters,” said the Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. “Our efforts to date have prevented Asian carp species, including grass carp, from establishing in the Great Lakes system. We will continue to be vigilant and respond quickly and effectively and do what is necessary to keep them from taking over this valuable watershed.”

Biologists at Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Asian Carp Laboratory performed sampling and preliminary analyses on the specimen to determine its ability to reproduce. Confirmation was made today that the fish is sterile by the Whitney Genetics Laboratory at the US Fish and Wildlife Service in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

“Ensuring the health and productivity of the Great Lakes by preventing the introduction of Asian Carp remains one of the highest priorities for Ontario and for my ministry,” said Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources David Orazietti. “Since 2005, Ontario has prohibited the possession of live Asian Carp, including grass carp, and has vigorously enforced these regulations. We are committed to working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to respond quickly to all threats to our ecosystem from invasive species.”

The grass carp was caught on April 27, 2013 by a recreational angler. The carp is 110 cm long (44 inches) and weighs 18.5 kg (40 pounds). Grass carp is one of four species of Asian aarps, which are considered highly invasive and a significant threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem. The others include bighead, silver and black carps. All live Asian carp are banned in Ontario and Michigan.

Sterilized grass carp are stocked in some places in North America to control aquatic plants. In the Lake Erie basin, several US states allow stocking of grass carp if they are sterilized, making them unable to reproduce.

Updates on response efforts and findings will be posted online at www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

All fishermen in the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Erie, are encouraged to become familiar with this species and report any new findings to Ontario’s Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711.