TORONTO – Earlier this month commercial fishermen in Lake Erie caught a grass carp.
Over the past few years, the invasive species have been netted in several Canadian lakes.
While most of the carp caught in Lake Erie were sterile, testing by biologists at the DFO lab showed this carp was fertile but while it could spawn, there’s no way to know if it was reproducing.
As reported by CBC, the carp was just under a metre long and weighed ten kilograms. After catching the carp, the fishermen turned it over to officials of the Ministry of Natural Resources, who sent it to the federal Fisheries and Oceans Canada office and labaratories (DFO) in Burlington Ontario.
Scientists are still measuring their impact in rivers, but under worst-case scenarios, the large carp could leave popular sport fish to go hungry and suffer population drop-offs. Asian carp are edible but bony, and most Great Lakes fish connoisseurs regard them as a poor substitute for the walleye and whitefish.
The carp — which can grow to more than a metre long — can be purchased for about $10 in the U.S. and are used in ponds and lakes to clear out vegetation.
The huge fish have no natural predators in North America waters, so they can quickly destroy delicate ecosystems.
Ontario banned the species in 2004, so the 11- to 15-year-old fish caught near Toronto were probably imported when it was still legal to do so.