Bad news on Asian carp spawning

by Jeff Helsdon | August 26, 2013

bad news - Man holding a large silver carp

Asian carp can probably spawn in more streams than previously thought, according to new research by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

To reproduce, Asian carp lay their eggs in flowing water, and the eggs and larvae drift in the current until the young can swim. They need a stream with a fast current and sufficient length for a good chance of survival.

Previous research indicated that silver and bighead carp require 100 kilometres of suitable river for successful spawning. The recent USGS study, however, found only 26 kilometres of river was necessary to allow Asian carp eggs time to develop.

Matt Smith, aquatic invasive species outreach liaison with the OFAH, says Ontario streams are now being identified where successful spawning could take place.

“It’s not good news,” he said of the study results. “It would be nice if it was the exact opposite, but I don’t think it changes anything, because they’re not spawning in those tributaries. We still have a chance to prevent that.”

Smith said identifying potential spawning streams is important because it will speed up the response to, and eradication of, Asian carp in the event of an invasion.

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