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Asian carp have been making their way up the Mississippi River system for years after escaping from fish farms and wastewater treatment ponds in the southern U.S.They’re knocking on the door of the Great Lakes, and a number of people are concerned about what could happen if carp become established in the region.In this five-part series, we’ll take a look at what officials are trying to do to keep the fish out, what might happen if carp get in, and why some people want to turn carp into a business opportunity.

Crews find 20 new positive eDNA hits for Asian carp in Lake Erie

Rebecca Williams
Michigan Radio

There’s new evidence that Asian carp could be in western Lake Erie.

Last month, crews took 150 water samples from Sandusky Bay and the Sandusky River.  They were testing for traces of genetic material from Asian carp. The results just came back this week.  20 of those samples tested positive for the presence of silver carp.

Now, these positive samples could indicate there are live carp in the lake.  But biologists say the genetic material could’ve also come from dead carp, or fish-eating birds or boats that came into contact with Asian carp.

Duane Chapman is a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Geological Service.  He says if there are live carp in Lake Erie, there probably are not very many of them.  He says silver carp are especially hard to catch.

“They avoid nets more than our native fishes. It will be very, very difficult for a crew to go out and intentionally capture an Asian carp in an area where they are very rare. In a place where they’re very rare, it’s going to take an extremely high level of effort and a lot of luck to be able to catch one.”

Crews from the federal government and the states of Ohio and Michigan have been searching for live carp in Lake Erie.  But they haven’t found any yet.

Rebecca Williams is senior editor in the newsroom, where she edits stories and helps guide news coverage.
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