An Indiana company that tried to bring an invasive species across the Windsor-Detroit border into Ontario has been fined $30,000.
On Jan. 9, 2012, a truckload of live Asian carp was stopped at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont. Officers with the Ministry of Natural Resources inspected a load of two varieties of Asian carp and found several of them still alive. They seized 1,179 kilograms of carp at the time.
On Thursday morning in a Windsor courtroom, Phoenix Fish Farms of Indiana pleaded guilty to possessing live Asian carp in Ontario.
Kevin Sprague, an officer with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, said it is illegal to possess live Asian carp in Canada.
Sprague said the carp could be "devastating" for the Detroit River and the Great Lakes if they ever entered the waterways.
Sprague said monitoring for Asian carp is a priority for the ministry. There have been six cases involving the invasive species in the last two years.
"They're going to cause damage to the native fish species that live here and out-compete with them; out-compete for habitat, for food, and decimate their populations," Sprague warned. "I effect, that would affect the commercial and sport fishing industries in the area — which is massive."
At this time, the ministry does not believe the invasive species is in the Great Lakes system.
"From what I'm aware of … I think we've been doing inspections in the area, at the border crossings in Sarnia and Windsor, for probably over two years now. So they've been very high on the radar for at least two years," Sprague said.
The lawyer for the company refused to comment.
Earlier this year, Ottawa committed $17 million to a plan to stop an Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes.