The Saskatchewan Sportfish Research Group from the University of Regina recently found Prussian Carp in Lake Diefenbaker.
Prussian Carp are considered an invasive species because they can reproduce rapidly, are aggressive and can take over the habitat of more native fish species.
Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation executive director Darrell Crabbe says Prussian Carp are fairly easy to identify as they look very similar to goldfish that are generally found in shallower waters.
“They're kind of a silvery brown color. And the other thing is, if you're familiar with the carp species, all other carps have what are called barbels that hang from their lips, like they have one or two marbles, or a buffalo fish have the same thing. They have one marble, but most carp have two and actually, Prussian carp don't have either,” Crabbe explained.
He added that Prussian Carp were introduced into the eco-system by human activity. One way to help stop the spread is, if you have an unwanted goldfish, humanely dispose of it and don’t release it into a lake or river.
He added that the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation is working alongside the Ministry of Environment fisheries department and the University of Regina to help identify the known range of Prussian Carp in the province. Next year, Crabbe expects the study will move towards the impact the carp have on native species and habitats and what actions can be taken to control their population.
“One of the really interesting things about Prussian Carp is the female, when she lays her eggs, they’ve evolved to where the sperm from any other fish will actually get the process going and fertilize the eggs. So, it's a very unique modification that Mother Nature has given it that makes it even more difficult to control in our waterways,” Crabbe said.
If you see or catch a Prussian Carp, you are asked to take a picture and send it and your location at the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation at email@example.com. If you caught the carp, do not release to back into the water and dispose of them properly.
Along with Prussian Carp, it is also boating season which can bring other aquatic invasive species into our waterways.
Crabbe said there hasn’t been a huge rise in the population of Zebra and Quagga Mussels in the province, but we shouldn’t let our guard down.
He added that if you are boating, make sure you drain any standing way and clean and dry all parts of your boat including any live wells. Check stations have been set up at the U.S. border as well as the Manitoba and Alberta borders to ensure boards are transporting any invasive species.