Asian carp caught in Grand River, raising concerns over ecosystem’s future
The discovery of an Asian carp in the Grand River near Dunnville has raised concerns about the future of the river’s ecosystem for other aquatic life.
The Asian carp is a bottom-feeding invasive species which was introduced to North America in the 1970s in a bit to control algae in Arkansas.
Since then, it has slowly made its way up the Mississippi River watershed, with the one caught last week at the mouth of the Grand River marking its first known foray into the Grand.
Despite having no known predators, the carp is known to make a meal of pickerel, trout, perch and nearly any other fish it finds.
“They make it so that we might have less fish to catch than we want to be catching,” says Waterloo fisher Steve Balzer.
The carp can weigh up to 100 pounds, and consume 40 per cent of their body weight each day.
The fish caught in Dunnville was an Asian grass carp – sterile, and less of a threat than the silver and bighead carp.
Officials with the Grand River Conservation Authority say monitoring the carp’s presence is a communal responsibility.
“It’s so important that people, fishermen and anglers pay attention to this,” says GRCA spokesperson Dave Schultz.
“If they do find something they think might be an Asian carp, they should send it off to the Ministry of Natural Resources.”
Asian carp are said to be the second-biggest threat to Lake Erie’s ecosystem, behind only toxic blue-green algae.