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Entries in MICRA (3)


National Policy Needed to Help Stop Spread of Grass Carp

This grass carp was illegally stocked in a lake where it wasn't needed, and the health of the fishery has suffered as a consequence. Photo by Robert Montgomery

Although grass carp have been found in every one of the Great Lakes except Superior, resource managers don’t believe that the exotic fish have established a self-sustaining population.

But the Mississippi Interstate Resource Association (MICRA) recently warned that “state grass carp regulations are varied and inconsistent, and a national policy strategy is needed to effectively minimize the risks of additional fertile and sterile grass carp introductions into the Great Lakes.”

MICRA reached that conclusion as result of a study funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to look at grass carp use, production, and regulations. It also made recommendations to help minimize risk not only to the Great Lakes, but other waters not yet infested by unintentional introductions of this aquatic invader.

Those recommendations include the following:

  • Production, shipment, stocking, import, and export of diploid (fertile) grass carp should be prohibited except by licensed facilities.
  • States that allow production of triploid (sterile) grass should develop a set of minimum standards, permit requirements, and recordkeeping for diploid broodstock.
  • States that allow importation of triploid carp should adopt consistent regulations that allow only FWS-certified fish.  Also, increase random inspections and enforcement of regulations in these states.
  • FWS should work with states, producers, and other partners to develop testing procedures for quality controls and law enforcement in support of random inspections.

Grass carp, a species of Asian carp, were first imported into the U.S. in 1963 as a tool to manage nuisance aquatic vegetation, including exotic hydrilla, in ponds and impoundments. But flooding allowed many to escape into rivers and streams and, by 1970, they were reported in the Mississippi River basin.


Help Prevent Spread of Asian Carp

Here are a couple of good sources for more information about Asian carp:

Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association (MICRA) and Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.

Most importantly, check out the fliers at the MICRA website and be an Activist Angler in preventing the spread of these invaders that are outcompeting native species for food and habitat in many of the major riiver systems in the eastern half of the country.


More Evidence That Asian Carp Beyond Point of No Return for Great Lakes

Folks, I’m telling you: It’s just a matter of time until Asian carp --- bighead and silver --- are in Lake Michigan, and, from there, they will spread to other Great Lakes, where they will devastate the billion-dollar sport fishery.

At least three times this summer, silver carp DNA has been found above the electric barrier designed to keep them out of the Great Lakes, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

That prompted John Goss, the White House carp czar to say: "Finding three or more consecutive sets of positive (environmental) DNA samples in the same area triggers us to use significant resources to try to find a physical specimen."

Don’t know about you, but that certainly reassures me that our government is taking care of the problem.

Meanwhile Bill Taylor, a fisheries scientist at Michigan State, is calling for hydrologic separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River basin. In other words, putting things back the way they were before we connected them decades ago so that Chicago’s pollution would flow downstream.

“I am tired of studying what we already know is going to happen (carp migrating into the Great Lakes),” Taylor said. “We’ve watched this coming on for 10 years. We know what’s going to happen.

“The Asian carp are going to whack the tributaries,” he continued. “They’re going to eat all the food – they eat anything they get in their mouth and that means they’ll eat the food base that our resident fish would normally eat. They will change the food web and dominate our streams and near shore regions in the Great Lakes basin.”

Meanwhile, the Mississippi Interstate Resource Association reports some disturbing discoveries regarding Asian carp and how they will fare in the Great Lakes:

Asian carp larvae learn to swim vertically at younger ages than scientists previously assumed. That means they don’t need to be suspended as long in turbulent water as previously thought and that suggests that shorter river segments or even coastal areas of the Great Lakes could support reproduction. Thus, capacity to breed and spread appears much greater.

Asian carp eat Chladophora, a common alga that grows along much of the Great Lakes Shoreline. Previously, scientists had hoped that the Great Lakes wouldn’t provide enough food to allow the invaders to become established. Now, it appears, there is plenty.