Recent research indicates that even a handful of Asian carp, between just ten and twenty fish, could establish an ecologically damaging population in the Great Lakes.
“Published this week in the Biological Invasions journal, research from Professor Kim Cuddington of the Faculty of Science at Waterloo indicates that the probability of Asian carp establishment soars with the introduction of 20 fish into the Great Lakes, under some conditions…‘This species will have a huge impact on the food web,’ says Professor Cuddington. ‘Not only is it a fast-growing fish physically, but the population itself grows very quickly. A female can lay well over a million eggs a year, and with no known predators present in the Great Lakes, the Asian carp could dominate the waters and impact fisheries.’…
Individual fish have already been caught in two of the Great Lakes. The probability of Asian carp establishment changes dramatically if only 10 of the creatures are introduced. With 10 fish, the probability of a population of Asian carp is only 50 per cent, but with 20 fish, it jumps to 75 per cent, under some conditions.”