The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, announced this week that the Government of Canada will spend $17.5 million to protect Canada's Great Lakes from invasive Asian carp.
"The Great Lakes are important to the economic and cultural make-up of Canadians who live and work on these waters. These lakes support both recreational and commercial fisheries and a way of life for our people,' said Minister Ashfield. "Our efforts to date have prevented Asian carp from establishing in the Great Lakes system and we will continue to do what is necessary to keep them from taking over this valuable watershed.'
This new funding will be allocated over the next five years to four key activities: Prevention, early warning, rapid response, and management and control. As part of prevention activities, emphasis will be placed on initiatives to educate people about the danger of this invasive species and ways to prevent humans from bringing Asian carp into Canadian waters.
The government will also work with its American counterparts to develop an extensive early warning and monitoring system to alert officials of signs of any potential problems along with rapid response protocols for both countries to be able to react quickly should there be signs that they are spreading. To manage and control the threat of their entry into Canadian waters, the Government of Canada will also work with enforcement agencies to ensure compliance with regulations relating to the transport of Asian carp.
"The Great Lakes is the largest freshwater system in the world and represents one of Canada's most valuable assets,' added Minister Ashfield. "We are committed to working with our American counterparts to continue to protect the Great Lake basin. Together these measures will go a long way toward our ultimate goal of stopping Asian carp from entering and becoming established in the Great Lakes.'
Asian carp have established significant populations in the Mississippi River system in the US, after flooding allowed captive specimens to escape from aquaculture facilities. The fish are known for traveling just under the surface in huge schools and leaping high out of the water when startled, often landing in boats and causing injury to occupants.