Grass carp had already been seen in the Great Lakes but they had been fish that were made infertile in fisheries. Now, scientists are now reporting wild varieties of the fish have been found. They can reproduce and experts say, that means the fish could establish itself in the area.
The grass carp are not considered as ecologically destructive as bighead or steel carp – two other varieties of asian carp that have not yet reached the Great Lakes – still, officials are concerned.
Marc Gaden is with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, which helped co-author the study. He said the fish still have a ways to go before establishing themselves.
“Establishment means that the species will take hold and potentially spread and cause ecological damage. Arrival simply means that they are here. That’s not reassuring news however because the fish that have arrived here are fertile and it only takes a relatively small number of these fish to establish a population.”
The study that raised the alarm about grass carp was a collaboration between U.S. and Canadian scientists.
Gaden said he hopes states will continue to work together with Canada to prevent grass carp from establishing themselves in the Great Lakes.