Scientists Confirm Asian Carp Reproducing in Great Lakes Watershed

A U.S. Geological Survey and Bowling Green University report released Monday confirmed that at least one species of Asian carp – grass carp – are reproducing in the Great Lakes watershed.

Grass carp found in Lake Erie were determined to be capable of reproduction. Though not as destructive as silver or bighead carp, grass carp are also an invasive species, require similar conditions for reproduction and survival and can also disrupt aquatic habitats.

“I can safely say that my members would say the failure of the federal government to act on permanent separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River is . . . unconscionable,” said Erin McDonough, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs, in an interview with MIRS News. She also suggested that the state create an emergency response fund to contain Asian carp.

Asian carp disrupt aquatic ecosystems by out-competing native species for species at the bottom of the food chain, starving out species higher up like popular sport fish. If they become established in the Great Lakes, they could disrupt the region’s $7 billion sport fishing industry as well as the ecology of the lakes.

Originally imported to southern United States aquaculture facilities to clean retention ponds, Asian carp escaped into the Mississippi River and have proceeded steadily northward, disrupting the river’s fishery along the way. They’ve been found in the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal which artificially connects the Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds and their eDNA, which detects their presence, has been found on the lakeward side of electronic barriers designed to keep them out of Lake Michigan.

The Lake Erie finding is the first time a species of Asian carp has been confirmed to be reproducing within the Great Lakes watershed.

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  • Garyt

    were we not assured, recently, that this would not happen. Shows that Illinois politicians will bow to commercial influence faster than Michigan. Wonder what justification we will be offered this time for inaction. We will probably have to learn to eat and love to eat carp.

  • Szumi

    I believe the plan is to kill the Great Lakes and then send the water to California.

    • 07Dyna

      I’d laugh in years past, but anymore, but you’re probably spot on.

  • Lake Michigan Salmon Fisherman

    All carp, even the big brown ones we grew up catching, are invasive species! Grass carp are something of a game fish in the Florida canals, apparently fun to catch.

  • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

    Hey, lake Michigan salmon fisherman, your comment makes me wonder what you do with the salmon you catch! I like to eat the salmon, lake trout, steelhead, brown trout, walleye and perch I catch. I can’t imagine having to replace them with ASIAN CARP of any kind.
    My first thought would be legal action against Chicago and the state of Illinois, but by the time that got anywhere we would all be eating Asian carp. Maybe with a large enough flash mob and a couple dozen truck loads of cement we could seal off those damn canals and solve the problem ourselves.
    Any takers?

    • Larry Butts

      The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal is controlled by and under the jurisdiction of the US Corps of Engineers. The State of Illinois and Chicago are not who you need to sue.

      By the way, there are several tributaries that would allow these fish to reach the great lake if you were to close the canal – so think of a better plan. You should also consider the fact that the Ohio river connects to the Mississippi river too. This is a much bigger problem than you might think.

      This is a huge problem and we need serious people to take action. Flash mobs ain’t going to do it.

      • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

        Only joking about the flash mob Larry. So what’s your serious solution? Love to here it!

  • Dan

    Based on an article published in the Detroit Free Press, Sunday, 7/17/11, the experts do not include grass carp in the same threat category as other Asian carp when it comes to Michigan’s sport fishing and commercial fishing industries because grass carp do not compete for the same food as native species as the above article suggest.

    • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

      So what do they eat, something that’s not in the lake? Of course they compete with native species, it’s just a matter of how and how much.

      • Dan

        No native species eat the grass that the grass carp eat

        • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

          Any eggs in that grass?

          • Dan

            Now that’s a reach. All the spawn beds that I’ve seen have been cleared out by the parent fish. And besides, grass carp don’t vacuum up the grass like a regular carp would the scum on the bottom. The grass has to be chewed. You need to leave the research to the experts that contributed to the Free Press article.

          • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

            Not just talking about fish eggs Dan. As a biologist and aquatic entomologist I can tell you the ecology is much broader than that. Just who were the “Free Press’s” experts anyway? I personally put little faith in ANY articles in that rag.

          • Dan

            Well, Lucky Buck, perhaps those same “experts” would be just as unimpressed with all those distinguished and prestigious titles that you’ve ascribed to your name as you are with their qualifications. The article is available Online in the Free Press archives if you’re interested in critiquing their findings “after” you’ve actually read them instead of blowing off their research simply because it was published in a newspaper that you don’t particularly care for. But I’ve read what they’ve said, and what the above article said, and what you’ve said. They talk like they know what they’re talking about. But all the hype in the above article and the comments you’ve made sounds more like Chicken Little’s sincere, albeit, unwarranted panic cries about a species of fish that is virtually innocuous.

          • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

            Take a pill Dan and try not to blow a vessel. All friends here. I’m fully aware of the 2 year old article you put so much faith in. For starters there’s no such thing as totally innocuous species. I’ll give you that the Grass carp are probably the least problematic of the Asian carp species and not all invasive species will create an “end of the world” scenario, but one only needs to look at the complete lack of success in dealing with invasive species over the last 40 years to realize it’s only a matter of time before the other species of Asian carp are as plentiful in the great lakes as they are in other places. This IS bad news for the lakes and all of us who use them. We all need to stand together and demand immediate action on this issue if we are to have any chance at slowing (don’t think it can be stopped) it down.
            Peace, love and tight lines man.

          • Dan

            Since you were the one who introduced the condescending sarcasm into the conversation, it’s rather ironic that you would try to calm things down at this point. That’s tantamount to a snake offering its victims antivenin after he bites them. Nevertheless, I appreciate your expressed concerns about my vessels. The fact is grass carp have proven to be extremely beneficial in eradicating invasive aquatic plants from ponds and lakes without the use of dangerous chemicals in those states where triploid grass carp are allowed by law. But the State of Michigan has chosen to take such a heavy handed approach to the Asian carp threat that lawmakers want to severely punish residents with hefty fines simply for using sterile grass carp to keep their backyard ponds clear of invasive plants for no reason other than it’s an Asian carp, not because it’s a threat in any way. And the above article only exasperates this nonsense.

          • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

            Don’t know why you find facts to be condescending or sarcastic Dan. You seem to be a little over sensitive about this Grass carp issue. Did you receive such a fine for importing said carp or something? Don’t get your panties in a bunch. Apparently the states biologists find the risks to the lakes to be larger than the benefit to your backyard pond. Are you aware that sterile populations sometimes don’t stay that way? Check it out. SSSSSSSSSSSS

          • Dan

            Don’t know why you don’t know why that even facts can be presented in a condescending or sarcastic manner, Bucky boy, but then again, I really don’t want to know why you have the character flaws that you so glibly exhibit. And I was actually in full agreement with the only fact that you presented when you mentioned that there is no such thing as a “totally” innocuous species. But the problem was that you were defending an argument that no one was making since I said that grass carp are “virtually” innocuous, which means “nearly,” not “totally.” And neither you nor the article above, that you “put so much faith in,” has produced a single fact to prove that grass carp pose any threat to Michigan’s lakes whatsoever. And now you want to defend State biologists who think that my backyard pond poses some kind of threat to the lakes if it has a sterile grass carp in it because it might not stay sterile and it might get out into the lakes where no one has proved that it will be an ecological threat. You tell me not to get my panties in a bunch but you and your kind are the ones who are paranoid.

          • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

            Why Danny boy, you grotty little wanker. Your problem is obvious. You’re in extreme need of a rectal craniotomy. That fine must have been something! I feel your pain. Not defending, just stating the obvious fact that the issue is bigger and more important than YOUR pond. No more time to waist on your obvious emotional problems. There are walleye, steelhead, grouse and ducks with my name on them. Hang tough Alice!

          • Dan

            Well, since your depravity apparently knows no bounds, it’s probably best that you go back outside and play and leave the discussions to the grownups.

          • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

            Guess that leaves you out eh danny boy. You should try getting outside to play yourself sometime. Then you might better understand the issue and what’s at risk. I was fishing for walleye at the time of my last post and am about to head in from one of my tree stands. Life is great in the outdoors! jambo

          • Dan

            It is you who are completely void of understanding. But at least try to comprehend when I tell you one more time that grass carp pose no “risks” (period). And the amount of time that you or I spend outdoors is not going to change that. You say that you have no more time to “waist” here, although you probably meant “waste” (but with you I can’t be sure). And you say it’s because you’re spending so much time outdoors. And yet here you are again. But you should really go back outside this time and if I want to read anymore of the drivel you post I’ll just check the bathroom walls of any of the public places that you frequent, which ain’t gonna happen.

          • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

            Dan, Dan, Dan. I f you think you’re smart enough to correct the spelling of others, one would think you should be smart enough to know you never start a sentence with the word “and”. My last two posts were posted via my smartphone, a device beyond your comprehension, while I was indeed outside hunting and fishing. In addition, unlike the ratholes you obviously hang out in, the public places I frequent don’t have bathroom walls to write on. Oh well, off to guide an afternoon grouse hunt while you sit and play computer games or something else useless. Kiss Kiss

          • Dan

            What’s the matter, your smartphone isn’t smart enough to do simple little tasks like checking grammar rules Online before you pretend like you know what you’re talking about when it comes to beginning sentences with conjunctions? Maybe it’s not too late to get your money back for that “not-so-smart” phone and those English classes that didn’t help you in the least with spelling or grammar. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we heard it before, go ahead and go out and do all those outdoor activities that keep you from these “useless” computer gadgets and we’ll see you back here in a few minutes with more of the same nonsensical rhetoric.

          • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

            So much anger, so little gray matter. Yea you got me Dan, I wasn’t an English major, but I know enough not to capitalize the word online in the middle of a sentence. My degrees are it biology and electrical engineering. As a retired EE I spent decades using those “computer gadgets” as you called them to help dozens of companies build many of the things you use every day, like your car for example. This allowed me to retire early and enjoy the many outdoor sports for which you seem to have no appreciation. So it’s not the computers I find useless, only fools like yourself who can’t seem to find a constructive use for them. It would appear you should keep your fat can on the couch, looking out the window at your backyard puddle while you figure out how to pay off the equity loan you used to build it and leave the outdoors activities to the old retired guys. I doubt you have the stones for it.
            Toodles couchdog

          • Dan

            You haven’t been able to produce a shred of evidence to prove that grass carp are as menacing as the above article portrays them, so you keep trying to change the topic and make it all about you and how wonderful you think you are, as exemplified by your last post. But no one wants to talk to you about how fond you are of yourself. I know I certainly don’t.

          • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

            Your the one who wanted to make it about me Dan. I simply pointed out that I have a much better understanding of the science involved. There is no real evidence to prove that grass carp are not a menace either! So we proceed with caution. Weed beds are more than just a potential food source. Eliminate them with large schools of grass carp and you upset the entire ecology of the system. We have seen this many times before. Species are introduced to a system with the best of intentions only to find that the unintended consequences are much worse than the original problem. Ecological balance is a very tricky thing are extremely difficult to mess around with as history has taught us time and time again. I understand your frustration with your pond issue but the grate lakes watershed is to complicated and way important to take chances with. Countless millions of dollars are spent every year trying to cope with the problems created by invasive species already! I know, I’ve worked on many of the projects myself. An example would be the invasive mussels clogging water supply system intake pipes and there are many more. So I’ll say it again, we proceed with caution!
            Best to you and yours.

          • codfather

            Dan is a moron. He is likely a grass carp importer or pet store salesman who specializes in grass carp. His arguments are totally unscientific, and yes, I have a doctorate.

          • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

            Thanks for the support! Knowledge is power.

          • codfather

            Many species, such as perch, spawn on the weeds you don’t care about. You actually have absolutely no idea what the introduction of grass carp, or any other new invasive species, will have on the Great Lakes ecosystem. You’ve seen a bluegill bed so now you are an expert. Believe everything you read? No one actually knows what an introduced species will do, even the “experts”. Stop drinking Dan, your brain needs a dry out.

  • Tom M.

    Alewives eat the same zooplankton we don’t want Asian Carp to eat, alewives also eat larval native perch, walleye etc. that we also don’t want asian carp to eat. So naturally the plan is to fill lake Michigan back up with alewives? In Oct. D.Chapman our top asian carp expert admits asian carp be controlled with predators. The Feds admit we have native predators for juvenile asian carp, but have to be abundant. So restoration of native fish/predator population is called for. We have native predators for the invasives we have now that don’t grow too big, so it’s obvious we don’t have enough. There’s is no threat of having too many native fish (only to invasive species) the threat asian carp pull off a spawn very real, it goes fast after that. Snagging asian carp is not fishing, rather catch Perch and Walleye, let them catch/control the carp. Delagate carp control to nature much better at it than us!

    • codfather

      What?

      • codfather

        Not sure what “native predators” you are talking about. Your grammar sucks. No one wants the Great Lakes full of alewives and this is from a salmon fisherman. The perch are rebounding as the alewife population is lower due to the non-native salmon, steelhead, and brown trout predation. Do you think we can stock enough muskies to control the population of carp? Remember that lake trout are a put and take fishery as the lamprey and failed reproduction have stopped them from re-establishing populations. Please explain your position.

        • Bruce Tesone Lucky Buck Lodge

          I personally prefer to catch and eat the steelhead and brown trout over the lakers (somewhat) but wonder if their introduction, while not the cause of the laker population crash, hampers their recovery. I am an avid trout fisherman and part time guide and am fully aware that there are no native trout in Michigan. What do you think?

  • Happy fisherman

    I have had the opportunity to fish MI rivers for Steelhead and salmon for about 40 years. Until the last couple years I stopped fishing for salmon due to the “snaggers”. Their techniques make fishing for steelhead tough with the constant chucking of lead 24 hours a day. When I first heard of the Asian Carp, I figured it would be about 5 years before they made their way into our Great Lakes. Hopefully, their presence won’t cause our great fishery to suffer more than it does at the present with issues due to “Invasive” species. I’d just to say I am great full for the times I had in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s fishing for steelhead on many of our MI. rivers. Good Luck in the future…..going fishing now as the “snaggers” are about done and the steelhead are on the feed.

  • Joshua Jackiewicz

    I would like a check in the kalamazoo river downstream from Allegan dam, Seems like they are there too, But I have only seen photos of 40 lb fish.

  • Tom Matych

    Regardless the top priority right now is to fill Lake Michigan back up with alewives. The same thing as having billions of baby Asian Carp.

  • Drew YoungeDyke

    Let’s keep the conversation civil, folks.