A team of researchers at the University of Regina are looking at the population of Prussian Carp, an invasive species, in Lake Diefenbaker.
Biology Masters student Jayme Menard is a part of the Saskatchewan Sportfish Research Group and she’s been studying Prussian Carp in Lake Diefenbaker since 2020.
“Right now, we know very little about how they're making a living here, how fast they're growing, when they mature, how they reproduce, and at what time and in which locations they reproduce,” she said.
Menard is also looking at how the fish reproduce as they can reproduce sexually through their own males as well as asexual through gynogenesis where they use a sperm donour from a native species.
Menard has been collecting samples as well as there has been a citizen’s scientist program that has also been donating samples for her research. She has been analyzing the fish’s bones to determine its age as well as she did cellular analyses on samples she collected in 2021.
Her research has found that Lake Diefenbaker has some of the largest, oldest Prussian Carp in the world as well as young fish. Menard found there is a small population in between the old and young that should be measuring around 10 to 20 cm.
Menard said, right now, they don’t have a definitive answer as to why there is a lack of middle-aged Prussian Carp in Lake Diefenbaker. She added it could be anything from a high enough predation to diminish the population to the simple fact they might not be catching them.
Her hope is that she can pass her research on to the Ministry of Environment to help give them a better idea on how to target the invasive species.
“For example, right now it might be a good idea to target either those younger fish that we sample later in the summer or target the older cohorts when they go into spawn in the spring,” Menard said.
As an invasive species, residents are reminded to contact the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation if they find Prussian Carp in any waterways in the province.
Below is Discover Moose Jaw’s Shawn Slaght’s discussion with Jayme Menard.