A new invasive carp found in the Great Lakes
vMONTREAL: A new species of invasive Asian carp has appeared in three of North America´s Great Lakes, threatening the ecosystem, Canada´s fisheries and oceans ministry said Friday.
Grass carp, one of four Asian carp species, were captured between 2013 and 2016 in Lakes Michigan, Erie and Ontario, the ministry said, citing a joint Canada-US study.
The voracious fish, which can reach a weight of 45 kilograms (100 pounds) and 1.5 meters (five feet) in length, could cause “extreme” ecological damage within the next 50 years as it supplants native species, the study concluded, noting a lack of natural predators to keep its numbers in check.
The species can consume nearly 40 percent of its weight in aquatic vegetation per day.
Originally from eastern Asia, the grass carp was introduced in the United States in the early 1960s to help control aquatic vegetation.
After escaping into the Mississippi River, where it is now bountiful, it is believed to have reached first Lake Michigan through Chicago´s canals.
Canada and the United States will use the report to guide their efforts to stop its spread, the ministry said.
Four of the five Great Lakes (Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario) straddle the Canada-US border. Lake Michigan is the only one located exclusively in US territory.