Highly invasive species known to decimate local fish populations

Originally Published by CBC News, June 4, 2016

By Melissa Fundira

There may be plenty of fish in the sea, but two fishermen in the Lanaudière region caught what may be the only Asian carp in the St. Lawrence River last week.

Pierre Thériault and Gerald Boucher, commercial fisherman from Lanoraie, reeled in the 29-kilogram invasive species on May 27.

“We really weren’t sure what it was. It looked like a carp… it had the same colour, but it was huge! We could see it was different from the others,” said Thériault.

Not long after contacting biologists from Quebec’s Forests, Wildlife and Parks Ministry, it was confirmed that the fishermen’s catch was a one-metre-long female grass carp, one of four Asian carp species.

It was probably between 15 and 30 years old, according to biologist Michel Legault.

The fish is native to east Asia and has been used in North America for consumption and management of aquatic vegetation.

According to preliminary analysis, the fish’s belly was full of sterile eggs, probably due to its advanced age.

“For biologists, it’s been a big surprise. It’s as if they didn’t want to see it here,” said Boucher.

Boucher, who makes his living as a commercial fisherman, shared that sentiment of dread — and for good reason.

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Photo by Associated Press.