Grass carp reproducing in Great Lakes watershed

Scientists say that, for the first time, they have found evidence of Asian carp reproducing within the watershed surrounding one of the Great Lakes.

Duane Chapman
Duane Chapman

Four grass carp caught by a commercial fisherman in October 2012 in the Sandusky River in Ohio were extensively analyzed by U.S. Geological Survey scientists. By examining bones, known as otoliths, in the heads of the fish, the scientists determined the four carp had lived all their lives in the watershed where they were caught, rather than finding their way there from fish farms.

The evidence that grass carp successfully reproduced in the Lake Erie watershed is an indication that other species of Asian carp – silver, bighead and black carp – might also be able to reproduce in the Great Lakes.

The new research was led by Duane Chapman, a USGS biologist, and published Oct. 25 in the Journal of Great Lakes Research. Read a USGS news release on the research.

On Oct. 8, Chapman presented a lecture in St. Paul on the biology of Asian carp and the threat they pose to Minnesota lakes and rivers. View video of that lecture, which was sponsored by the Freshwater Society, the University of  Minnesota College of Biological Sciences, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and the university’s College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences.