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Lakegoers urged to keep an eye out for invasive carp

The Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations (FOCA) want their members and locals to be on the lookout for a particular type of invasive fish.

Terry Rees, President of FOCA, is urging people to be on the lookout for Grass Carp, Silver Carp, Black Carp and Bighead Carp. While common carp are long-established and prolific in Ontario, these types of carp can cause major damage to local ecosystems.

Rees says, in particular, the Bighead and Silver Carp can be as heavy as 60 pounds and 3 feet long. The fish are avid filter feeders, able to eat 20 percent of their body weight in one day. This deprives native fish species of much-needed food. Rees says all these invasive carp are prolific feeders that produce quickly, and can take over a whole ecosystem.

Rees is urging cottager associations and property owners to keep an eye out on the water at all times for these types of fish, saying the surveillance is valuable for the Ministry of Natural Resources. While they haven’t been spotted in many Ontario lakes, they have been occasionally spotted in the ecosystem. Rees wants people to be vigilant about re-releasing them, not use them as live bait, and learn how to identify them.

Information on how to identify these fish can be found on the Asian Carp Canada Website.

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