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Canada pledges $17.5M to the Asian carp fight

The Canadian government announced today it will spend $17.5 million over five years on the battle to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

Asian carp 09 22 2011Enlarge
Colorful carp streamers are displayed at a park in Sagamihara, suburban Tokyo. (TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Canadian government announced today it will spend $17.5 million over five years on the fight to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, the Windsor Star reported.

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“The Great Lakes is the largest freshwater system in the world and represents one of Canada’s most valuable assets,” Fisheries and Oceans Canada Minister Keith Ashfield said in a statement, according to the Windsor Star. “We are committed to working with our American counterparts to continue to protect the Great Lakes basin. Together these measures will go a long way toward our ultimate goal of stopping Asian carp from entering and becoming established in the Great Lakes.”

"This is a huge increase in spending. It’s a lot of money from Canadian perspective," Hugh MacIsaac, professor and director of the Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, told the CBC. "It exceeds what we spend on sea lampreys."

According to the Associated Press, silver and bighead carp imported to the southern US from Asia years ago are migrating up the Mississippi River and its tributaries and would threaten native fish species if they made it into the Great Lakes.

Commercial and sport fishing of native species bring billions of dollars to Great Lakes communities, MacIsaac told the CBC.

"It’s a positive step to see Canada and the US integrate their efforts to deal with aquatic invaders," MacIsaac told the CBC. "It’s warranted to spend money to keep these out of the Great Lakes."

Ashfield said Canada will focus on educating people about how to keep the giant fish out of the Great Lakes and why it’s important, the AP reported.

In addition, the AP reported, the Canadian will assist US experts in developing early warning and rapid response systems to be used if the carp do invade the Great Lakes, which are shared by the two countries.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/canada/120528/canada-spending-asian-carp-great-lakes