Report: Asian carp may have reached Great Lakes

7:26 AM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
Photo by Minnesota DNR
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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - A scientific report says at least some Asian carp probably have reached the Great Lakes, but there's still time to stop them from becoming established.

The paper released Thursday was written by scientists with the University of Notre Dame, The Nature Conservancy and Central Michigan University. It summarizes findings from a two-year search for the carp in and around the Great Lakes.

The scientists took 58 water samples that contained Asian carp DNA in waterways near Chicago. Six samples taken from Lake Erie also yielded positive hits.

Researchers studying water samples from the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers for fragments of Asian carp DNA say they found little evidence of bighead and silver carp in Minnesota.

The study released Thursday concludes that while the invasive fish are present in Minnesota, their numbers are likely relatively low.

Researchers analyzed water samples for DNA fragments released to the environment, called eDNA. They found silver carp eDNA in Iowa, where the fish are abundant, but none near St. Croix Falls in the St. Croix, or near the Coon Rapids Dam or below Lock and Dam No. 1 in the Mississippi.

Research team leader Peter Sorensen says despite the lack of eDNA evidence, there is reason to believe Asian carp are entering Minnesota waters from the south and could breed here.

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