Asian Carp in the Great Lakes

by emshevs on October 7, 2016 - 2:12pm

This news article, from CBC Windsor, states that there will be a public forum to be held in Toronto concerning the invasion of the Asian carp in the Great Lakes. The Asian Carp is an invasive species currently making its way from the United States into the Great Lakes. Because they are voracious eaters, they are making it difficult for native species of fish to compete for food supply. The forum will be hosted by the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Ministry as well as the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The main goal of the forum is to help inform involved stakeholders on the current status of the Asian carp population in the United States. By coming together and pooling their information and resources, they are attempting to prevent the spread of this invasive species as it could cause serious environmental damage should they be able to develop a breeding population in the lake. There has been increased pressure for the management of this invasive species due to the fact that there has been fertile carp found in Point Pelee in Lake Erie this summer.

This article highlights a coordinated state effort between Ministry, commissions and the United States government to manage common pool resources. This state-led natural resource management makes sense because it is the state who has the material power and authority to manage this issue and have the ability to make deals with other nations which is required to happen with the US since Canadian-US waterways are connected. The government would also have the authority to impose the regulatory or economic instruments in order to achieve the quick results needed in this situation.   By preventing the Asian carp from entering our waterways, we are defining our native species of fish as a resource that is worth protecting. Fish are a renewable flow resource, therefore if there are more fish being extracted (or in this case killed due to competition with Asian carp) faster than being replenished, then we are at risk of losing the resource. The media is currently giving a lot of coverage on the Asian carp and this is acting as a catalyst for awareness and puts pressure on government to take action. One thing that the article does not mention, however, is how the Asian carp ended up in our water systems in the first place. The Asian carp was initially brought to North America and introduced into the Mississippi River from Asia in the 1960s in order to help keep aquaculture and wastewater treatment retention ponds clean. The species was meant to be kept contained, however, due to flooding they were able to escape and have been migrating into connecting waterbodies ever since. This demonstrates that it was in our attempt to manage a resource issue (dirty water) that we introduced an even large resource issue, the invasion of a voracious species who are now threatening our native species.  

Link to article:


Great read! Your post caught my attention since its an issue within the region. It has been mentioned in several of the classes which I have taken this year and thought it was interesting to read it from the point of view of another student. What do you think would be a good way to mitigate this issue and control the flow of this invasive species into our lakes? I know you had mentioned that the media was spreading awareness of the issue and that there were organizations trying to control the spread of the Asian Carp, but there was no mention of a specific solution or possible means of controlling the situation.