Asian Carp the target of new Ontario lab

Grass.Carp2webCanada has a new tool to battle the spread of an insatiable invasive species: an Asian carp research lab that’s the first of its kind in the country.

Researchers say the Burlington, Ont.-based lab at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters (CCIW) will be an integral part of the battle against a fish that threatens to decimate food sources for native species in North America. The facility was formally unveiled Monday.

“Right now, the Great Lakes are absolutely at risk,” said Becky Cudmore, the Asian carp program manager at the CCIW. “Canada as a whole is in danger, but the Great Lakes are at an imminent risk.”

Bighead and silver carp are largely considered to be the worst part of that risk, as they eat huge amounts of plankton, which is the foundation of aquatic food chains. They have infested much of the Mississippi River basin and are threatening to gain a foothold in the Great Lakes through rivers and canals. If that happens, species native to Canada could be wiped out.

Diane Finley, the minister of public works and government services, told reporters at a press conference Monday that Asian carp could have a devastating effect if left unchecked.

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