COLUMBUS – Ohio and other Great Lakes states face a threat from many aquatic invasive species (AIS), including bighead and silver carp (Asian carp) and are working to reduce the impact they may have on Ohio’s native species, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The ODNR Division of Wildlife is looking at several pathways that Asian carp may use to enter inland waters and the Great Lakes, including the inadvertent transfer of live fish through the bait trade. Consequently, the division and other federal and state agencies are attempting to prevent the transfer and movement of live Asian carp through these pathways.
ODNR Division of Wildlife efforts to prevent migration of AIS through the bait trade pathway include:
Regulation: Institution of rules prohibiting people from releasing any fish or aquatic insect into waters from where it did not originate. This will help eliminate the movement of AIS into new bodies of water.
Surveillance: Checking live bait for the presence of AIS and specifically Asian carp through the inspection of bait outlets in Ohio. This will help prevent the inadvertent transfer of AIS to anglers purchasing bait who could potentially transfer AIS to new waterways by dumping unused bait.
Education: Providing bait outlets with educational materials geared at identifying AIS that could potentially be in the bait trade.
Outreach: Distribution of educational materials that instruct anglers to not dump unused bait into public bodies of water.
Should Asian carp become established in inland waters or Lake Erie, they have the potential to outcompete and reduce the numbers of game fish, which would negatively impact Ohio’s resource users and the businesses that rely on these resources. Nationally, there are significant efforts being made to prevent Asian carp establishment in the Great Lakes. Asian carp are already starting to appear in the Ohio River along Ohio’s border.