The Nature Conservancy today called for greater action to control the spread of invasive species in response to an announcement by state and federal officials that scientists have found 20 new positive eDNA detections for Asian Carp here in Lake Erie.
“Asian carp and other invasive species pose a real and ongoing threat to the economy and the ecology of Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes,” said Lindsay Chadderton, The Nature Conservancy’s Great Lakes aquatic invasive species director and part of the team with the University of Notre Dame that developed the eDNA detection tool. “This announcement – that evidence of live carp in Sandusky Bay is even more extensive than we thought – reinforces this threat and lends additional urgency to our efforts to control the spread of these fish.”
Aquatic invasive species like Asian carp are currently the greatest threat facing the Great Lakes, said Chadderton, pointing to an economic study that substantiates damage to the Great Lakes to be hundreds of millions of dollars annually from all aquatic invasive species combined. The Conservancy commissioned the study by the Anderson Economic Group and released it earlier this year. A full copy of that report can be downloaded HERE.
“These results just add to the weight of evidence that Asian carp are present in Lake Erie. These results should raise the level of concern to those still questioning whether or not Asian carp are present in the Great Lakes.”
Even if live Asian carp currently exist in Lake Erie, it’s not too late to control the population and contain their spread, said John Stark, the Freshwater Conservation Director for the Conservancy in Ohio.
“The Nature Conservancy and its partners have offered to help conduct additional sampling to get a better idea of the extent of the population numbers and refine strategies to prevent reproduction and recruitment of these fish in the coming years,” Stark said.
“It remains important to prevent additional Asian carp or other invasive species from transferring between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins,” Stark said.
“This is a shared problem and requires a shared solution.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.