Asian carps – The presence of grass carp in the St. Lawrence River is confirmed
Québec City, February 28, 2017 – The Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs confirms the presence in the St. Lawrence River of grass carp, one of four species of Asian carps.
Through environmental DNA analyses, the MFFP confirms the presence of grass carp in the St. Lawrence River and certain of its tributaries. The study was conducted jointly with the genetics laboratory of Dr. Louis Bernatchez of Université Laval.
Asian carps have a significant impact on the environments that they colonize. The MFFP is highly concerned by their presence in Québec waters and will continue to act on several fronts to curb their propagation by targeting priority measures.
To act on the propagation vectors of pathogens and aquatic invasive species, the MFFP intends to pursue the establishment of sound cleaning practices for small boats and the management of water in fishponds. Special attention will also be paid to the management of dams and fishways to limit the propagation of Asian carps from the St. Lawrence River to internal waters.
Furthermore, the MFFP is announcing the implementation of measures to restrict the use of baitfish in Québec. This decision stems from the recognition that the baitfish trade and the use of baitfish for sportfishing are vectors for the introduction and propagation of pathogens and aquatic invasive species, including Asian carps.
A new regulation governing baitfish comes into force on April 1, 2017
As of April 1, 2017, the use of live baitfish will be prohibited throughout Québec during the winter. What is more, in order to reduce the risk of propagation of weed fish, the MFFP reminds the public that the procedures announced in 2012 concerning the prohibition on the use of dead baitfish during the summer will also take effect as planned starting on April 1, 2017.
Accordingly, only the use of dead baitfish for winter fishing is allowed, in fishing zones where the practice was already authorized.
It should be noted that sportfishing in Québec generates 8 655 jobs and annual expenditures on the order of $1.06 billion. It is, therefore, important to take the necessary steps to preserve this activity and its socioeconomic spinoff.
To find out more about Asian carps, please consult the MFFP website (http://mffp.gouv.qc.ca/english/wildlife/fishing/species/asian-carps.jsp).