Government of Canada invests $20 million to Asian carp prevention in the Great Lakes
Asian carps are among the top aquatic invasive species being monitored for their potential establishment in the Great Lakes. Already established in the Mississippi River basin in the United States, the four species of Asian carps (Bighead, Silver, Grass and Black) aggressively compete with native fishes for food and habitat, and have quickly become the dominant species.
BURLINGTON, ON -- The Government of Canada is committed to preserving our freshwater resources and protecting the Great Lakes from the threat of invasive species.
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On behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister for Democratic Institutions and Member of Parliament for Burlington, announced today a significant investment to protect the Canadian Great Lakes from Asian carps.
The Government is investing up to $20 million over five years, and ongoing, to Canada's Asian Carp Program to continue prevention efforts through early warning surveillance, partnering and outreach activities. This funding will allow Fisheries and Oceans Canada to expand the Asian Carp Program to increase protection of our Great Lakes and preserve our fisheries.
"Our Government is committed to protecting the health of Canada's waterways, marine ecosystems, and our multi-billion dollar recreational and commercial fisheries from the threat of aquatic invasive species. I am pleased to announce this investment towards combatting aquatic invasive species that will both strengthen our Asian Carp Program and improve and protect the health of Canada's freshwater resources for generations to come," Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
Asian carps are among the top aquatic invasive species being monitored for their potential establishment in the Great Lakes. Already established in the Mississippi River basin in the United States, the four species of Asian carps (Bighead, Silver, Grass and Black) aggressively compete with native fishes for food and habitat, and have quickly become the dominant species. Risk assessments conducted by Canada and the U.S. show that the Great Lakes contains enough food and adequate habitat for Bighead, Silver and Grass carps to support an invasion and establishment.
Canada's Asian Carp Program conducts early detection sampling for Asian carps at over 32 locations in the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes basin. All four species of Asian carps would have an extremely negative effect on the natural ecosystem because of their ability to outcompete for space and food and a lack of natural predators.
Asian carps have a voracious appetite. For example: Grass Carp can consume 40% of their body weight in aquatic vegetation in a single day. To date 25 Grass Carp have been caught in Canadian waters. Since the program began in 2012, there have been no captures of Bighead, Silver or Black carps in Canada.
"I am pleased that Burlington is home to a state-of-the-art laboratory which has bolstered our efforts to fight the entry of Asian carps into the Great Lakes through research and innovation. The Government of Canada remains committed to ensuring that we take all possible measures to protect our treasured Great Lakes," Karina Gould, Minister for Democratic Institutions and Member of Parliament for Burlington.
The Government will continue to work closely with provincial and U.S. counterparts to support prevention and control activities, provide scientific support and expertise designed to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species.
SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans Central & Arctic Region
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