A new study claims there’s reason for concern that the Ohio population of Asian carp could take over the ecosystem in Lake Erie.Lake Erie has one of the largest, most diverse fish populations of the Great Lakes, and Asian carp populations like bighead and silver carp could push out pre-existing populations and do serious damage to the balanced ecosystem. The carp have been spotted in nearby watersheds and could make the move to Lake Erie soon.
The study, published recently in the journal Transactions of the American Fisheries Society estimated the effects of carp breeding via computer simulation. Originally, bighead and silver carp were introduced to the United States in the 1970s but they escaped into the Mississippi River and have been wreaking havoc on local fish populations ever since. Some species might actually see an increase in population when the carp are introduced, but other prized sport species like walleye and rainbow trout, would see a sharp decline, according to The Washington Post.
“It’s very sobering,” Marc Gaden, spokesman for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, told the Associated Press. “Lake Erie is one of the most productive inland fisheries in the world. It wouldn’t be as valuable by any stretch of the imagination if one out of every three pounds of fish were Asian carp.”