News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Akron General

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Levin Furniture

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us

Still searching for Asian Carp in Lake Erie
Electric probes being used to herd invasive fish

In The Region:
You’ve heard the expression that something’s as difficult as “herding cats.” Well, try herding fish! Researchers on the lookout for Asian carp in Lake Erie are using a “herding” technique that involves electric shock probes. As independent radio producer Karen Schaefer explains, the search follows the appearance of carp DNA in the western basin of the lake.
Still searching for Asian Carp in Lake Erie

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:24)

SCHAEFER:  Rich Carter has been spearheading the search for Asian carp in Lake Erie.  He’s chief of Fish Management and Research for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Carter’s pretty sure the water samples taken from Sandusky Bay contain DNA from the invasive species.  But he’s not sure how these big jumping fish got there.

CARTER:  Was it human introduction for these?  Potentially.  Was it a bait bucket introduction?  Potentially.  Is it a water source?  Potentially.  Do we have massive numbers of these fish swimming around?  You know, based on all the sampling that we’ve done, the evidence suggests that if fish are present, they’re present in very low densities.

SCHAEFER:  Earlier this week Carter was out on a boat on the Sandusky River about four miles from the bay, watching U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists lay a gill net across the river.  They’re herding fish into the net with two boats equipped with electric shock probes inserted into the water that drive the fish before them.  It’s a technique called electrofishing.  Carter watches and listens carefully as one of the biologists lifts a large fish from the net.

CARTER:  That was a buffalo.  I think he was saying is that a lot of people confuse buffalo for Asian carp.

SCHAEFER:  So far this summer, after two intensive sweeps, no Asian carp have been found in either Sandusky or Maumee Bays, or their river tributaries.  Carter says he’s pretty sure that means there are not yet breeding populations of Asian carp that could compete for food with new hatches of native sport fish like walleye and perch.  The carp usually win the competition.  

SCHAEFER:  One potential pathway for the carp into the lake is Eagle Marsh in Indiana, where heavy flooding could spill the carp from the infested waters of the Wabash River into the Maumee.  Another is the Chicago sanitary and ship canal, the primary entry point for Asian carp into Lake Michigan.  Rich Carter says no carp DNA has been found anywhere near either one of these pathways so far, but officials are still awaiting water sample results taken in August.  A third possible explanation for carp DNA in Lake Erie could be bait shops along the coast.  

CARTER:  We know that some bait comes from southern waters.  Asian carp are present in Arkansas and Mississippi and some of those areas.  So we’re exploring and eliminating uncertainty. 

SCHAEFER:  Results from those bait shop tests are still pending, too.  Carter estimates this year’s search for Asian carp has already cost up to 300-thousand dollars.  Even so, that pace is too slow for some environmental advocates.  Sandy Bihn of the Western Lake Erie Waterkeepers Association calls the presence of carp DNA in Lake Erie a 5-alarm fire. 

BIHN:  As we saw with zebra mussels and quagga mussels, we didn’t do anything, we just let them come and they multiplied incredibly.  We should learn a lesson from that.  

SCHAEFER:  Bihn is also concerned that there’s no plan to manage the fish if Asian carp do establish themselves in the lake.  One rather drastic option is to kill all the fish in an infested area using a poison called rotenone.  The poison doesn’t discriminate, though – it would kill other fish, too.  

BIHN:  I would hope that scientists take a look and develop a plan of what to do if they find them here, because I think the fact that the DNA are found now deserves the next level of attention. 

SCHAEFER:  Rich Carter of the Natural Resources Department says scientists are working on better solutions, including species-specific poisons - and having the carp mate with genetically-engineered fish. 

CARTER:  …fish that are placed in the water that eventually breed with the other fish that are present in the water and make them reproductively sterile.  But today, there’s not a good tool for control. 

SCHAEFER:  For now, the mystery of how Asian carp DNA got into Lake Erie goes on…as does the hunt for clues.
Listener Comments:

Thamus, that is being done. ODNR has been conducting bait bucket sampling all along the lake. And they've launched an education program to remind boaters to clean up their boats. It's a long, hard slog.

Posted by: Anonymous on October 9, 2012 4:10AM
What about checking the recreational/sport fisherman's boats? I have a hunch that the eDNA is being trailed in. Look how close the Ohio River is to Lake Erie... Surely, there are fisherman who fish carp infested waters... Suck the water into their livewells... Then they trailer to the Lake Erie... Are they cleaning their boats good enough? What about their bilges, motors, trim plates, livewells? The minute they turn their livewell recirculator on... BOOM, the eDNA genie is out of the bottle. Do what Nebraska and Minnesota are doing... Stop the recreational trailers at inspection stations... Make them decontaminate the vessels... Check for pulled plugs and clean wells/bilges.

Posted by: Thamus (Illinois) on September 21, 2012 2:09AM
Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Charter reform bill includes controversial change for some teachers
I work for a former White Hat charter school; it was sold to another (for-profit) company this past summer and we were told that they would not pay into STRS/PE...

Bhutanese resettlement has had a big economic impact
Informative especially for nonmembers of North Hill. I appreciate the fact that you mention that the younger generation has an easier time than the elders but t...

Ottawa County Commissioner sworn in as new house member
Congratulations on your new appointment to the Ohio House. I'm certain you will do an outstanding job in your new role representing our district. When you have...

Holden Arboretum opens a new canopy walk and emergent tower
Visited the Holden Arboretum today to witness the incredible work you did constructing the tower and bridges.WOW! Very impressed. Knew the build had to be great...

Local club works to bring back the once-prevalent American elm
I would love to help! Where would I get some of the new Strain so I could plant them?

Four Geauga school districts consider consolidating on the Kent State campus
Berkshire was smart to merge with Ledgemont because it had shrinking enrollment and excess capacity at its high school. Now that Cardinal is dragging its feet ...

Ohio Rep. John Boccieri sworn into office and hopes to look for 'middle ground' with colleagues
Welcome back to the Statehouse, John. You are a terrific representative in the truest sense always representing the people's voice in teh district you serve. ...

Lawmakers call for indefinite freeze on Green Energy standards
It's a shame the Hudson Rep. Chooses to mimic the words of the extreme right senator on his way out to join ALEC when we know the Pope was just here because of...

Youngstown Schools file suit against the Ohio Department of Education to stop the implementation of an academic distress commission
Voters should ask WHY this plan was rushed into law under the cover of darkness. What clues point to the beneficiaries of this plan? Both Patrick O'Donnell of...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University