After a week of intensive electrofishing and gill netting activities in Sandusky Bay, Maumee Bay and their main tributaries, officials have found no bighead or silver Asian carps in western Lake Erie. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continue to work together to assess the current status of bighead and silver carp within western Lake Erie bays and select tributaries.
“The sampling results are very encouraging, especially since we intensely focused on areas where we believed we had the greatest chances of finding these fish,” said Rich Carter, ODNR executive administrator of fish management and research. “We look forward to the results of the environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis that will help us define future actions. We appreciate all of the efforts the Service has provided in assessing the status of Asian carp in Lake Erie.”
“We are committed to supporting our state DNR partners in the field,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley. “Service staff will continue to work side-by-side with DNR employees both on the water and in the labs as we try to answer the question, ‘Are there any live Asian carp in the Sandusky and Maumee areas?’ This week’s sampling has not provided any physical evidence that Asian carp are in these two waterways.”
Jim Dexter, chief of the fisheries division, MDNR, noted that this effort presented an “excellent effort to accompany the more sensitive eDNA testing.” MDNR looks to this effort as a baseline of information and as a foundation upon which to build any future sampling efforts.
Fish sampling activities took place in response to the six water samples taken from Sandusky and north Maumee bays in August 2011 that tested positive for the presence of Asian carp eDNA. Additional eDNA sampling activities occurred July 30-Aug. 4, and those findings will be announced in a few weeks.
DNR and ODNR are committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the region’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.