eDNA From Invasive Silver Carp Identified in Presque Isle Bay

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today announced that it has conducted targeted invasive carp sampling in Presque Isle Bay, Erie County, after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) detected the presence of Silver Carp environmental DNA (eDNA).

On July 11, 2022, the PFBC was informed by the USFWS that laboratory results from routine eDNA sampling conducted by the USFWS in May 2022 detected Silver Carp eDNA at one of the 100 sample locations in Presque Isle Bay. In response to this detection, the PFBC conducted targeted boat electrofishing sampling near the detection location on July 14, 2022. No Silver Carp were collected or observed. In addition, boat electrofishing sampling operations conducted by the PFBC in the same area of Presque Isle Bay on May 18, 2022, for another purpose prior to the positive eDNA findings, did not capture any invasive carp.

While no physical invasive carp specimens have been detected, the PFBC has requested that the USFWS collect additional water samples from Presque Isle Bay in the fall when more favorable environmental conditions are present for eDNA sampling.

The detection of eDNA is simply that, a determination of the presence of eDNA. It cannot determine whether the presence was from a live fish or from another source, such as bird feces, water transported in the live well of a recreational boat recently in waters infested with Silver Carp, or from melted ice used to store Silver Carp at fish markets that flowed into storm sewers. However, repeated detections of eDNA over time increases the concern that the genetic material may have come from fish living in the area where the sample was collected, which is why future eDNA sampling is recommended.

Invasive carp, including Bighead Carp and Silver Carp, pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem, the $7 billion-dollar fishery, and other economic interests dependent on the Great Lakes and its tributaries. Bighead and Silver Carp compete with native and recreational fish species and are known to quickly reproduce. Anglers are urged to become familiar with the identification of invasive carp, including both adults and juveniles, as the spread of juvenile invasive carp using live bait buckets has been identified as a potential point of entry into Great Lakes waters.

To learn more about invasive Silver Carp and other aquatic invasive species, visit the PFBC website (Fishandboat.com) or www.invasivecarp.us. Members of the public can report sightings of aquatic invasive species to the PFBC using an online form: https://pfbc.pa.gov/forms/reportAIS.htm.