Winning Teams Reel in $5,000
The Asian Carp Innovative Solutions Competition was developed as a platform for college, university undergraduate, and masters’ students to showcase their original ideas and designs that could be used in the prevention, control, and/or elimination of Asian carps in the Great Lakes basin. The competition was emceed by Dr. Tat Smith, Director and founding Board Member of the Invasive Species Centre and Dr. Nicholas Mandrak provided the Key Note address. Fourteen teams from seven post-secondary institutions participated in the event, which was held at the University of Toronto Scarborough on March 5th, 2016. Teams had ten minutes to present their ideas to a panel of six expert judges from government, academia, industry, and non-profit organizations and an additional five minutes to answer questions from the judges. The judges based their decisions on; viability of solution, justification of design, innovativeness, impact and economic considerations, and presentation skills.
Thanks to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) and the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission (GLFC) for their generous sponsorships, the students competed for a top prize of $3000, with second and third place prizes of $1500 and $500 respectively.
Third place went to Tarissa Holmes, Taylor Phillips, Shannon Farmer, and Brandie Roberts of the “Sustainable Carp Poolers” team from Sir Sandford Fleming College. Their solution included mobile sonar acoustics to herd carp into manageable locations, where they could be easily removed and processed for fertilizer and fish flakes. They also proposed the implementation of an incentive program for anglers to remove Asian carps from the lakes.
Second place went to Michael MacLeod and Haein Huh, of the “CarpBusters” team from the University of Waterloo. Their solution involved biological control of Asian carps using Koi Herpesvirus 3, a highly contagious virus that would specifically target carp populations. As well, they proposed implanting a gene to reduce the number of female carps being born which would act as population control.
Jacob D’Onofrio, Mieke Hagesteijn, Jacob Stone, and Tisha Tan of the team “Operation: Carpageddon” from the University of Toronto Scarborough were awarded first place for their solution to create a non-physical carbon dioxide barrier in the Chicago Area Waterway System. This would prevent Asian carps from traveling upstream and into the Great Lakes. Their solution also included plans to sequester the carbon dioxide and recycle it, as well as placing buffering compounds to ensure there is no environmental damage.
The caliber of the ideas and presentation skills for all of the teams who participated in the competition was exceptional. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Regional Director for Central and Arctic, Dave Burden, provided closing remarks and presented final awards to the winning teams along with representatives from the GLFC and OFAH as the event sponsors.
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