Two commercial fishermen from the province of Quebec hauled an Asian carp up in their nets while working on the St. Lawrence River.
Commercial fishermen working the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River in late May were shocked to find an over 3-foot long, 54-pound Asian carp in their nets. The immediate concern for the legendary river that borders the US and Canada was the long feared invasion of the infamous silver carp known commonly to sportsmen everywhere as simply Asian carp.
Jacques Nadeau, director of communications for Quebec’s Forests, Wildlife and Parks Ministry said, “It’s the first time any Asian carp has been caught in this region. We’ve been monitoring their presence, but had not seen any carp of this size or of this family to this point.”
Not so fast says D. Lee Willbanks, executive director of Save the River and Upper St. Lawrence River Riverkeeper: “I think this is not the species we’re all concerned about.”
The St. Lawrence River connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean, moving through the common border of NY and Ontario, Canada then working its way out to the sea through Quebec via the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Willbanks stated that the type of carp caught was a grass carp which has been known to be present in the river system for many years. The silver Asian carp, which is the scourge of the mighty Mississippi River, is known to grow not only in great numbers, but to a great size as well.
Grass carp don’t fly out of the water like their silver cousins and they eat large plants instead of plankton, lessening competition for native species’ food.
Quebec Province is never the less taking the issue quite seriously with biologists on the job and some $1.7 million in funding to combat the thought of this ridiculous species ever entering the famed ecosystem of the magnificent St. Lawrence.
Nadeau’s final thought: “We hope we don’t see any more this year, or in the future, but we’re expecting we’ll see more somewhere down the road.”
A shivering thought to anglers and sportsmen everywhere that calls “The River” the place where they take their families and spend their money every single season.