No Asian carp were found in the Great Lakes during this year’s early detection surveillance, but experts say grass carp — the only species of Asian carp found in Ontario waters to date — remains the most imminent threat.
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) Invading Species Program, which has worked with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other partners since 2014, sampled 635 field sites across 28 high-risk locations.
Some 23,306 fish representing 80 species — including 1,253 common carp and 511 buffalo fish — were captured using gear designed to target all sizes and life stages of Asian carp, officials stated.
Some 17,500 larval fish were also collected at an additional 105 field sites in three water bodies. They are now undergoing genetic analysis to confirm their species.
Still a real threat
“The good news is that we do not have an established population of grass carp in the Great Lakes, but the bad news is that this is still a real threat,” OFAH Aquatic Program Specialist Brook Schryer said, encouraging the public to remain vigilant.
Those who suspect they’ve seen an Asian carp are asked to take a photograph and call the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711 or provide a report online by clicking here.
Grass carp do not have barbels, unlike common carp, narrow dorsal fins, eyes that sit even with their mouth and large scales that appear cross-hatched.
Learn more about Asian carp and other invasive species by clicking here.
“We encourage the public to become familiar with the identification of this fish and how it differentiates from the common carp that are established in Ontario’s waters,” Schryer said.