Invasive Grass Carp pose threat to Lake Erie, surrounding wetlands

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- New research shows a type of Asian Carp has been found in several Great Lakes, including Lake Erie.

The Grass Carp don’t jump in the air like the Silver Asian Carp, but they still pose a serious threat to the ecosystem of the waters they invade, experts told us.

The problem with Grass Carp is the amount of plants they eat.

Prof. Helen Domske from is the Associate Director of the Great Lakes Program at UB.

“These things can eat 40 percent of their body weight a day in plants. So if you have a 50-pound fish, roughly that’s 20 pounds of plants that each fish is eating,” she said of the invasive species.

Domske said the wetlands, which she called the nursery to the Great Lakes, are most at risk with the arrival of Grass Carp.

The invasive species could impact the number of small mouth bass, trout, and walleye in Lake Erie, as those fish rely on the plants for food and protection from predatory birds.

Marc Gaden of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission said cross-border smuggling in one way the Grass Carp may have ended up in Lake Erie.

“In some fish markets, the live Asian Carp is a delicacy or it’s preferred, it’s better than filet so you’d want to buy it live. And once you sell a fish to somebody live you really don’t know at the end of the day what’s going to happen to that fish,” he said.

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