The province’s 31st invasive grass carp was caught by a commercial fisher in Lake Ontario’s Bay of Quinte on July 3, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The 20.996-kilogram, 1.16-metre fish showed no signs of having recently spawned, officials stated in July 17 social media posts.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada response crews and an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry crew subsequently searched the bay for additional grass carp, but none were found, officials stated.
“Grass carp are invasive and pose a huge threat to the Great Lakes basin due to their ability to reproduce rapidly, outgrow and outcompete other fish for food and habitat,” officials stated.
Grass carp is one of four species of highly invasive Asian carp. Unlike other species of Asian carp like bighead and silver carp, grass carp eat larger plants instead of plankton, and do not compete with native species for food. They do, however, pose a serious risk to aquatic habitats and top the list of invasive species threatening the Great Lakes.
Early detection and rapid response are key to ensuring we don’t end up with an established population of grass carp, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Invading Species Awareness Program (ISAP) Assistant Coordinator Brook Schryer said.
“Within ISAP, we work closely with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to ensure that any grass carp that are reported to the Invading Species Hotline (1-800-563-7711) or EDDMapS.org are sent to partners in the same day. This way, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is on the water faster and can monitor for and remove any potential grass carp,” he stated.
“If you think you’ve captured a grass carp, take a photo, note your location, and report it to the Invading Species Hotline: 1-800-563-7711, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or report online via www.EDDMapS.org.
If you are not able to reach someone directly, do not release the fish alive. Kill, gut, and keep the fish in a cooler, with its head above the ice. Report it – Fisheries and Oceans Canada will collect it.”
Download a grass carp fact sheet here.