The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says it hasn’t found any sign of bighead or silver carp in state waters this year.
This year, more than 2,445 samples of environmental DNA (eDNA) will be collected from high-priority locations as part of a collaborative eDNA surveillance program that has been ongoing since 2013. Officials from the Great Lakes states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) take most of the samples from major Lake Michigan tributaries, such as the St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, Grand and Muskegon rivers. Tests look for genetic material from bighead and silver carp.
“Along with our participation in the eDNA surveillance program, we continue to be diligent with early detection efforts, such as conducting fish population surveys, increasing awareness among anglers, and maintaining an invasive carps reporting website for anglers to share any suspicious catches or observations that occur during their outings,” says Seth Herbst, the Fisheries Division’s aquatic invasive species coordinator.
Bighead and silver are the two species of invasive carp of great concern to the DNR.
“Due to their large size and rapid rate of reproduction, bighead and silver carp pose a significant threat to the ecosystem of the Great Lakes Basin,” says Tammy Newcomb, DNR senior water policy advisor and fisheries research biologist. “Silver carp leap high out of the water when disturbed by watercraft. Boaters can be and have been injured by these leaping fish. Fear of injury could diminish the desire for recreational boating activities in areas inhabited by these fish.”
There are four species of carp prohibited as an invasive species. The other two species are grass and black.
Of the three rounds of samples collected so far in 2016, two of the three rounds have come back negative for any evidence of bighead or silver carp. The DNR is waiting on results from the third round of samples from the St. Joseph, Grand, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Macatawa, Galien and Black rivers.
Results of eDNA testing can be viewed online.