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Great lake swimmers: Conservation experts are worried about the destructive impact Asian carp are likely to have on the Great Lakes ecosystem

Jan 14, 2016

Karen McDonald’s heart sank when she learned that two grass carp were caught at the wetland construction project she manages for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). The agency had been looking for the invasive fish for a decade. But when three 30-pound, fertile specimens turned up at Tommy Thompson Park on Toronto’s waterfront in July, a chill ran through the organization. “There was a collective ‘Oh no,’ ” McDonald observed. “Someone said it was just a matter of time.”

Within days, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry were mobilized to root out other Asian carp. Four weeks later, five more mature grass carp were caught at a Toronto islands marina. It left McDonald and her colleagues wondering – had the invasion of the destructive Asian carp in the Great Lakes finally begun?

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