Researchers have found no bighead or silver Asian carp in western Lake Erie after a week of electro-fishing and gill netting in Sandusky and Maumee bays and their main tributaries.
The natural resource departments in Ohio and Michigan and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, however, will continue to assess the status of the fish in the bays and tributaries, the agencies said.
“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, Ohio Department of Natural Resources 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 Fish and Wildlife Service has provided in assessing the status of Asian carp in Lake Erie.”
Fish sampling research 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 took place this July 30 through Aug. 4.
The results of that sampling will be announced in a few weeks.
Although the latest effort hasn’t yielded any physical evidence that Asian carp are in the two waterways, the departments and Fish and Wildlife Service will continue their research, said Charlie Wooley, deputy regional director of the service.
“We are committed to supporting our state DNR partners in the field,” he said. “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?’ ”
Jim Dexter, chief of the fisheries division, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, noted that this effort presented an “excellent effort to accompany the more sensitive eDNA testing.”
He said the Michigan DNR looks to this effort as a baseline of information and as a foundation upon which to build any future sampling efforts.
Federal and state wildlife officials in July announced six water samples taken from Sandusky and north Maumee bays in Lake Erie tested positive for the presence of Asian carp environmental DNA in Michigan and Ohio waters.
The positive samples were among 417 taken from Lake Erie in August 2011, and more than 2,000 samples taken from the Great Lakes Basin since 2010.
The six positive samples represent less than 1.5 percent of the Lake Erie samples.
Four samples from Sandusky Bay, in Ohio waters, tested positive for bighead carp eDNA, while two samples from north Maumee Bay, in Michigan waters, were positive for silver carp eDNA.