The presence of Asian carps in the Great Lakes could cause catastrophic declines in abundances of native fish species, cause economic impacts to sport and commercial fisheries, and result in injuries to boaters.
The presence of Asian carp in the Great Lakes could cause declines in abundances of native fish species.
- Asian carps can consume 40 percent of their body weight in food daily. Great abundance of Asian carps will result in competition for food with native species including cisco, bloater, yellow perch, which are fed on by predator species including lake trout and walleye.
- Under the conditions found in the Great Lakes such as water temperature, food abundance, Asian carps could outnumber all other native species, as is happening in parts of Illinois, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
- The Great Lakes are home to federally and/or state listed threatened or endangered fish, mollusks, plants, mammals, insects, and reptiles. Other Great Lakes invasives have been implicated in adverse effects upon up to 46% of the local federally listed endangered plant and animal species. Introduction of Asian carp to the region could further harm these organisms and perhaps lead to their disappearance from the Great Lakes.
The establishment of Asian carps could cause great economic impact to the Great Lakes commercial, and sport fisheries collectively valued at more than $7 billion annually.
2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation
- Reduced abundance of native fishes will result in reduced harvest by sport and commercial fishers. Reduced harvest will cause reduction in angling quality, and economic impact to those whose livelihood depends on sport and commercial fisheries.
- The potential impact of Asian carps on the Great Lakes sport and commercial fishing industry can be seen now along the Mississippi River basin—where in just a few short years following introduction of Asian carp into an area, many commercial fishing locations have been abandoned, as native fish have nearly disappeared from the catch, replaced by Asian carp.
- In 2002, a workshop convened by the Great Lakes Protection Fund predicted that introduction of Asian carps into the Great Lakes would threaten the sport and commercial fisheries, and could result in ecological and economic damages far exceeding those caused by the sea lamprey and zebra mussel invasions.
The presence of Asian carps could result in injuries to boaters and other waterway users.
- Silver carp are often referred to as “flying fish” because when they are disturbed by boat motors, silver carps will jump from the water up to 6 feet.
- These jumping silver carps are causing injuries to boaters in the Illinois, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. If silver carp become abundant in the Great Lakes, then that species will cause injuries to boaters and other waterway users there.
- Such injuries will result in reduced pleasure boating and other recreational activities in the Great Lakes, which will cause economic impacts to those whose livelihoods are supported by recreational boating.