Asian carp caught near Point Pelee was fertile, ministry of natural resources says

A commercial fisherman netted a grass carp in Lake Erie just off Point Pelee, the Ministry of Natural Resources confirms.

Grass carp nearly 1m long and weighing just over 10 kg

A grass carp similar to the one shown found here was caught in Lake Erie just west of Point Pelee. (Toronto and Region Conservation)

The grass carp caught by a commercial fisherman in Lake Erie near Point Pelee last Friday has been tested and was fertile.

"We can't say it was reproducing. Just that it had the ability to do so," said Yolanta Kowalski, a spokesperson with Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources in an email to CBC.

Kowlaski added that the ministry "is doing intensive surveillance in the area. Both Department of Fisheries and Oceans and MNRF have two field crews doing a combination of trap netting, gill netting, and electrofishing. Operations started yesterday afternoon, and are continuing through today."

This is not the first time a fertile grass carp has been found, according to Kowalski.

The grass carp was 94.5 centimetres long and weighed just over 10-kilograms. 

The description of this fish is similar to another Asian carp caught in the same waters a little over a year ago. Grass carp have also been caught in Grand River, near Dunnville, Ont., in recent years. This includes captures in April and August 2013. Along with a capture in September 2014.

Asian carp is a catchall name for species of silver, bighead, grass and black carp from Southeast Asia. The fish typically weigh two to four kilograms, but can sometimes weigh up to 10 times that amount.

A study released earlier this year reports Asian carp could become the most common fish in Lake Erie if the ravenous invaders develop a breeding population in the lake.

The invasive species feast on aquatic vegetation, often uprooting large areas, thus depleting the food supply for other fish. 

Kowalski said grass carp in Lake Erie have mostly been found on the U.S side of the lake near Monroe, Mich. and Sandusky, Ohio. Research suggests grass carp spawn in the Sandusky River in Ohio. 

Grass carp do not appear to be as dangerous to the local ecosystem as bighead and silver carp -- largely considered to be the worst Asian carp species. Those two kinds of Asian carp are known to eat up to 20 per cent of their body weight in plankton each day and can quickly reproduce.