Study on the Risk of Grass Carp in the Great Lakes

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released a study on the Ecological Risk Assessment of Grass Carp for the Great Lakes. The study found that the ecological effect of these fish in most areas of the Great Lakes could be extreme within the next 50 years.

From 2013 to 2016, the DFO’s Asian Carp Program has recorded and analyzed 23 Grass Carp captured from Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. They found that nine were fertile and capable of reproducing. All of the fish were born outside the Great Lakes waters and made their way into Canada.

The scientific, peer-reviewed study was led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, coordinated by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and authored by experts from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the University of Toronto Scarborough, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The results of the study will be used by both countries to shape decisions about Grass Carp prevention and management activities.

Quick Facts from the DFO

  • Grass Carp would have an extremely negative effect on the natural ecosystem because of their ability to outcompete for space and food and a lack of natural predators.
  • Grass Carp have a voracious appetite and can consume 40% of their body weight in aquatic vegetation in a single day.
  • In 2012, the Government of Canada announced $17.5 million in funding to establish an Asian Carp Program to protect the integrity of the Great Lakes basin by preventing the introduction of Asian carp.
  • The Asian Carp Program conducts early detection sampling for Asian carp at over 36 locations in the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes basin.



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