Asian carp can destroy entire ecosystems, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is taking shocking steps to keep them from the Great Lakes.
Experts call Asian carp the most unwanted species in Ohio.
“These fish were initially introduced in the 1970s,” said Rich Carter of the Ohio Division of Wildlife. “What they feed on is microscopic plants and animals that all of our sport fish rely on in their early life stages.”
According to Carter, Asian carp is to Ohio’s native fish population as the Emerald Ash Borer is to Ash trees.
“They would potentially out compete these fish and devastate our sport fishery,” Carter said.
Sport fishing is a billion-dollar business in the Lake Erie basin. To protect it, state wildlife experts said that Asian carp must go.
“If they’re going to be there, this is the place where we might find them,” Carter said.
Wildlife experts dip electric probes into the water, and the electric current attracts the fish to the boat. Experts then scoop out the stunned fish and examine them.
So far, they have not found any Asian carp. Water samples have tested positive for DNA of Asian carp in the North Maumee Bay in Michigan and Sandusky Bay in Ohio. The results have wildlife officials concerned.
They found the presence of silver carp, which has never been seen in Ohio before.
“It’s surprising that we found this,” Carter said. “We have not seen the presence of silver carp in Lake Erie before.”
Wildlife experts said that Asian carp were originally introduced by the federal government as an environmentally friendly way of cleaning waterways of algae and sewage.
Ohio’s yellow perch or walleye are considered the most vulnerable to the invasion of Asian carp.
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