It’s not just commercial and recreational anglers who are affected… water quality and algae blooms affect human health, wetland destruction affect native fishes and birds, plants like wild rice which hold cultural significance would also be threatened and potentially lost.
The Invasive Species Centre hosted a virtual Asian Carp information session and brought together a panel of experts to discuss the threat of Asian carps to the Great Lakes. The virtual event specifically focused on Canadian research efforts.
The session featured an update from Fisheries and Oceans Canada followed by presentations from researchers at University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus. Attendees learned about the risks Asian carps pose to the Great Lakes, and about ongoing research focusing on non-physical barrier technologies, tributary/spawning suitability, and the potential impacts of climate change.
“Asian carps threaten our fisheries, recreation and nature around the Great Lakes. They could have a significant impact to Great Lakes anglers, boaters, and other recreational water users. Asian carps are big eaters and fast growers and have the ability to alter our lakes and rivers.” explains Sarah Rang, Executive Director at the Invasive Species Centre.
‘Asian carps’ refer to four species of carps (Bighead, Black, Grass, and Silver) that are native to China and southern Russia. While not considered established in Canada, all four species have escaped into the wild in the United States and have established self-sustaining populations, particularly in the Mississippi River watershed. There is immediate risk for Grass Carp to become established within the waters of the Great Lakes, and early detection is key. Great Lakes anglers, boaters and other recreational water users are encouraged to learn how to identify Grass Carp and know how to report suspected sightings or captures, by downloading the quick reference guide.
Asian Carp Canada, supported by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is a resource for information and news regarding Asian carp developments in Canada. “Our website can connect you to the most recent information about prevention, early warning, reporting and response efforts, and the risk Asian carps present to the Great Lakes and other waters,” says Rang. Visit www.asiancarp.ca for reporting information.
Invasive species include terrestrial and aquatic species that are introduced to Canada from other places and whose spread threatens the environment, economy, or society, including human health. The effects of invasive species are often irreversible and once established, they are extremely difficult and costly to eradicate or control. Education, outreach, and mitigation before establishment are the most cost-effective ways to reduce these impacts.
The Asian Carp information sessions are available to view at https://asiancarp.ca/resources/webinar-series/
About the Invasive Species Centre
The Invasive Species Centre is a not-for-profit organization that prevents the spread of invasive species in Canada and beyond by connecting with stakeholders to catalyze invasive species management and communicate policy and science knowledge. Visit our website at www.invasivespeciescentre.ca