The Asian Carp Invasion : The Race To Save Our Great Lakes

Today we are going to look at one of the
greatest threats to our Great Lakes invasive species. These invasive species
cause all kinds of problems to our native fish and ecosystems. Today we are
looking at one that’s made its way from the Mississippi River, the Asian carp. The
Asian carp are highly invasive and have a huge potential to cause problems to
our local ecosystems. So what are Asian Carp? There are four different
species of Asian carp and they all have the potential to damage the Great Lakes
in their own ways this fish gets very large it has a
equally large appetite it consumes from the bottom of the food chain eating
things like plankton vegetation and small crustaceans taking away from the
native species. These fish have been known to eat up to 1/4 to 40% of their
body weight a day they can reach sizes upwards of a hundred pounds it’s no
surprise why this species has been seen as such a threat. There are four types of
Asian carp and mentioned the bighead silver carp the grass carp and the Black
Carp these fish are native fmr some parts of
China and Russia So you must be wondering how did they
get here. In 1970s they were brought to the southern United States the stock
agriculture and sewage treatment ponds. They were used by pond keepers and
fisheries to control excessive vegetation growth and algae. Little did we
know that we would have massive flooding in the 90s giving these fish chance to
escape and a Mississippi River Basin. Since then they have eaten there way
northwards towards Canada. So let’s take a look at how much they’ve spread over
the years Why should we be concerned? These fish
get the monster sizes very quickly as well. This means that there is very
little time for even the largest native predators to help keep populations under
control. adult Asian carp have zero natural
predators. This means that the population has a chance to increase at an alarming
rate. One female Asian carp has the potential to lay over 2 million eggs per
year, allowing time for the Asian carp population to explode in no time at all.
It’s clear to see why they are such a threat and why we are taking
extraordinary measures to try to stop their spread and establishment in
the Great Lakes. So who does it really impact. It impacts many people. The first
to see the damaging effects would be the recreational and commercial fishermen.
With an ever dwindling supply of native species to fish the whole industry would
suffer. It can also impact anyone who enjoys being out in the water if silver
carp become established in our Great Lakes. It would lead to multiple injuries
and damage to equipment as they can literally jump out of the water when
startled. They can leap an astonishing 10 feet and considering they’re not small
fish it can pose quite a safety risk. So what are we doing about it. There are
many great minds already hard at work in both Canada and the United States to
stop the spread and prevent the establishment of Asian carp in our Great
Lakes. Various methods are being used to protect against these fish. The unified
method as one approach being taken by the Illinois Department of Natural
Resources. It involves combining multiple tools such as Gill and travel nets to
capture silver and bighead carp in mass numbers. Over a two-week period nearly a
hundred thousand pounds of these two types of Asian carp were removed from
the waterways. They are seeing a visible reduction in population of these species
using this method. They have also been reintroducing
alligator gar into some of the water ways with hopes of creating a natural
predator for Asian carp. Another simple solution being used is
turning the species into an appetizing meal. Many chefs and conservationists are
trying to create a demand for this fish. It can lead to an interest by commercial
fisheries or successful. Researchers are trying everything from attract and repel pheromones to sensory repellents such as acoustic air bubble
curtains, strobe lights and underwater sound. A promising solution is
genetically altering carp that only produced male offspring. This will
eventually lead to the extinction of a species from non-native waterways. Much
more research still needs to be done with some of these technologies before
they can be used, but it’s a promising start.
The last line of defense is electric barriers in Illinois. They repel Asian
carp from entering Lake Michigan. These have been used for quite some time and
are the only thing right now holding back these carp from entering our Great
Lakes. Despite our best efforts a few fertile grass carp have managed to make
their way into the Great Lakes. Though they are not currently reproducing in
numbers to be considered an established specie, it is critical that we do our
part to stop the spread of invasive species. One thing that we can all do if
we see an invasive species, is to report it on the early detection and
distribution mapping system or eddmaps for short. Should you catch an Asian carp
it’s important not to return to the waterways and report relevant
information to the appropriate sources. The EddMaps app to report sightings can
be easily downloaded for the Apple and Google Play stores.
It’s important that we all do our part in protecting the Great Lakes for
generations to come. If we take no action the Great Lakes we know today will
become drastically different tomorrow. The species native to our water ways
will become forced out and will become increasingly scarce. As fish keepers we
need to stock responsibly and dispose of fish in appropriate manners. It’s
important not to add non-native species to our waterways when disposing of your
pets, they have the potential to impact our environment. Whether you’re an
aquarium hobbyist or just someone who enjoys spending time on the water.
It’s important that We always report invasive species sightings. We must all
do our part to keep species like Asian carp from becoming established in our
Great Lakes. Once they become established, the waterways we know today will never
quite be the same. So we’re going to leave you with a real-life example we
found on the impacts an infertile grass carp on a small lake environment. This is
the story of Lake katchabigwon. Back in 1987 Lake katchabigwon had an
abundance of weeds in algae that covered almost as much as 25% of the water
surface at times. The fishing in the lake was memorable, largemouth bass large
bluegill large yellow perch that would not disappoint the finest fisherman. A
beautiful place to jump in and go for a swim.
The one thing that was always a bother was the weeds and algae. It seemed that every cast was coming back with weeds attached to the lure. In 1987 a law
was passed to allow the sale of infertile grass carp to be stocked in ponds. The answer to the
weeds was found or was it? He started stalking a small amount of fish in the
first year with very little to show for it. Over the years they added more
and more and more fish. A hundred and eighty carp to be exact. 1990 was the year that they stopped
stock in the lake. At this point there was a visible indication that the fish
were doing her job. The weeds were down quite a bit all across the lake. This
happiness soon turned to disappointment when the water clarity turned from good
bad to worse. Not only did the water Clary deteriorate rate but the large bass
and perch and bluegill that were being caught in a lake turned to a
thing of the past. Without all the vegetation, the native species had no
protection for spawning like they once did. Not only did the plants give shelter
for spawning fish but also took up the excess nutrients in the water. Without
all this vegetation removing the excess nutrients the water it turned to an eerie
green as phytoplankton took over. This would not be the end for Lake katchabigwon. After learning from their mistakes and
lots of research, the owners came up with an action plan to rescue a lake. With
help from friends and good neighbors they installed a fence to save a small
corner of the lake. This allowed plants to regrow in a small section weeds
started growing again and with much joy the restoration had began.
The only way to save the lake was to start removing these fish by any means.
Old age had finally taken his toll on many of the fish by this point. The rest
were manually removed. Four years have now passed and the carp are all gone.
Lake katchabigwon is now starting to regenerate back to its former glory. They
shared this story as a warning to those thinking of bringing non-native fish to
stock waterways. Always be mindful and do plenty of
research before hand and don’t overstock. If we see this type of damage done to a
small six acre lake with fish they can’t breed, imagine the damage that could be
done with fish that are able to reproduce. It’s an alarming thought and
the risks are high to a great lake ecosystems. Fertile grass carp have
recently been found in our Great Lakes to much dismay. They are not yet
established making it a very critical time to take action. The invasive species
response team is hard at work monitoring early detection centers and working with
the invasive of species hotline responding to sightings of invasive species. Only
time of Tell when next year will bring Thank You for watching

35 thoughts on “The Asian Carp Invasion : The Race To Save Our Great Lakes

  1. Wonderful video! I keep extinct fish in my room, it is hard to know where to start to help any more. Wonderful message!

  2. Great video and growing up on Georgian Bay. i thank you for your time to get this info out there. keeping aquariums is one of my favorite hobby's but fishing is what i live for, i dont think i would keep so many aquariums if it wasnt for falling in love with fishing as a kid. i fish all over ontario in all seasons. lake simcoe and georgian bay being my two main bodys of water. we do see alot of carp spawning in early spring late fall. and do our best to rid of any invasive species we come into contact with, my greatest fear though is the effect the round gobys are having in the last few years. i enter alot of perch tourneys and small bass tourneys. and in some areas. if jigging or using live bait you will almost catch a gobby with every cast. if you could maybe do another video on them and how to disposal would be great. thanks again for your time to make videos and gathering information and being nice enough to share with us. Happy new year and keep up the great work

  3. truly amazing work Mike!! here in the us grass carp are now considered native even though 40 or so years ago they were introduced as you had said. it may just be an inevitability sadly . i have seen fisherman make alot of money off of carp too , and those were only being sold to asian exporters .

  4. Fantastic documentary my friend! I hope this goes viral! The message it delivers is very important to us all in the US and Canada! Your video editing skills lead me think that you have a bright future in media. I'm proud that you included footage of Lake Ketchabigwon. I hope it helps drive home the lesson. What a tragedy it would be to lose our native fish and resources to the Asian carp. I'm betting that we can control them. But that starts with awareness, and this video is another outstanding step in that endeavor!

  5. The Australian government is going to be letting loose a super powered carp hiv virus. Unfortunately carp make up over 80% of the fish in the rivers here

  6. Great info and Video – I have subscribed to your channel – I'd appreciate if you subscribe back to support

  7. Very informative👍
    What if someone catch the fish then give it for free to those unfortunate people, it would be really a great help for them. Maybe? Nahh Don't mind me😂

  8. poison the river for a week from chicago on down. repeat every five years. to hell with the EPA, government caused this in the first place.

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