Asian carp are a group of fish species (Silver Carp, Bighead Carp, Grass Carp and Black Carp) that arrived in the southern United States from Asia in the 1960s and 1970s. Asian carp are a highly invasive species and they pose a significant risk to Ontario’s biodiversity, economy and society. Ontario has worked hard to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes and inland waters. In 2004 and 2005 the Ontario and Federal government made it illegal to sell, purchase and transport live Asian carp. Ontario has worked with Canada Border Services Agency and Department of Fisheries and Oceans to enforce this legislation. Since late 2010 six truckloads containing live Asian carp intended for markets in Toronto have been seized at the Canadian border.
Experience has demonstrated that it is virtually impossible to stop the spread of Asian carp once they have entered a waterway. Prevention is key. Ontario is considering further measures to ensure that this invasive species does not enter Ontario. The discussion paper describes the threat posed by Asian carp to Ontario and asks some questions on further measures that Ontario should take to keep this species out of Ontario. One of the measures proposed by fisheries experts is to only allow eviscerated Asian carp to be transported and possessed in Ontario. Evisceration means removing the fish’s internal organs.
MNR is releasing this Asian carp discussion paper to seek public input on further measures that may be needed to keep this species from establishing in Ontario, including the need for tougher regulations which will only allow eviscerated Asian carp to be imported into Ontario. MNR will use feedback from the discussion paper to guide changes to our programs and help influence regulatory change.