There was no sign of Asian carp in the waters that spill from southeastern Monroe County into Lake Erie, as was also the case during previous days of an electrofishing and netting survey that began Monday in Ohio. Roger Knight, the Lake Erie program administrator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife, wasn't surprised. He observed Wednesday's work from a nearby boat in North Maumee Bay. "I didn't expect that we would find one," Knight said. "If there were detectable numbers of these fish, we would have heard about them."
The Ohio and Michigan departments of natural resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service launched testing in response to test results released in July that showed DNA evidence of silver carp in North Maumee Bay and bighead carp in Sandusky Bay from samples taken last year. Five hundred water samples collected in the Sandusky and Maumee rivers, and their adjacent bays, will be filtered in a search for environmental DNA evidence and will be analyzed during the next five weeks by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Electrofishing technique allows a three-person crew to quickly assess what types of fish are in a given area. Two electrode-equipped booms attached to the front of special boats are lowered into the water as a generator sends out a mild electrical current. Fish are attracted to and then stunned by the current, giving the crew enough time to scoop up and examine any fish floating on the surface before dropping them back in the water, seemingly unfazed.
Although there have been no substantiated reports of live Asian carp in Lake Erie since 2000, concern has grown that the invasive fish could become established and develop a breeding population. With no physical barriers to prevent their movement, Asian carp could then move into the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair.