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Ohio remains vigilant in Asian Carp testing

Only a single water sample, out of 225 samples from the Maumee River and 100 samples from the Sandusky River, contained traces of genetic material from silver Asian carp, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The testing seeks to identify the presence of environmental DNA (eDNA) from bighead or silver Asian carp and the lone positive sample was collected in the Maumee River. The samples were collected as part of an extensive monitoring effort in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

“The eDNA technology represents a tremendous early detection tool that will help us identify potential sources and vectors of Asian carp. It is important that we look at the persistence of eDNA over time to help guide us on future efforts,” said Rich Carter, executive administrator, ODNR Fish Management and Research.” Ohio appreciates the USFWS efforts in conducting this year’s eDNA sampling and analysis.”

Ohio teamed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Michigan DNR last year to conduct an exhaustive targeted survey for bighead and silver Asian carp after Asian carp eDNA was detected in both Maumee and Sandusky bays and rivers in 2011 and 2012. No live fish were captured during last year’s cooperative search. There is also extensive and ongoing routine sampling being conducted by all the states that border Lake Erie, as well as an extensive commercial and recreational fishing effort, with no live fish captured in these efforts. 

ODNR will continue to collaborate with USFWS on follow-up sampling. Monitoring for live fish will continue through an extensive ongoing annual inter-agency fish sampling program, commercial fishery catch reporting, and reporting by recreational fishermen.

eDNA can be left in the environment in the form of scales, cells, feces or mucus. At present, eDNA evidence cannot verify whether live Asian carp are present, whether the DNA may have come from a dead fish, or whether water containing Asian carp DNA may have been transported from other sources such as bilge water, storm sewers or fish-eating birds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey are leading a two-year Asian Carp Environmental eDNA Calibration Study (ECALS), funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to reduce the uncertainty surrounding Asian carp environmental DNA (eDNA) results. For more information on ECALS, please visit www.AsianCarp.us.

For more information on the science of eDNA in the fight against Asian carp, watch the video at: http://youtu.be/xXwply6ahQ8.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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