June 28, 2010
Asian Carp Sneaks Past Great Lakes Electric Barriers
By Chad Love
From this AP story:
An Asian Carp was found for the first time beyond electric barriers meant to keep the voracious invasive species out of the Great Lakes, state and federal officials said Wednesday, prompting renewed calls for swift action to block their advance. Commercial fishermen landed the 3-foot-long, 20-pound bighead carp in Lake Calumet on Chicago's South Side, about six miles from Lake Michigan, according to the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.
Officials said they need more information to determine the significance of the find. "The threat to the Great Lakes depends on how many have access to the lakes, which depends on how many are in the Chicago waterway right now," said John Rogner, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. But environmental groups said the discovery leaves no doubt that other Asian carp have breached barriers designed to prevent them from migrating from the Mississippi River system to the Great Lakes and proves the government needs to act faster.
"If the capture of this live fish doesn't confirm the urgency of this problem, nothing will," said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes office. Scientists and fishermen fear that if the carp become established in the lakes, they could starve out popular sport species and ruin the region's $7 billion fishing industry. Asian Carp can grow to 4 feet and 100 pounds and eat up to 40 percent of their body weight daily. Rogner, from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, estimated that the male carp was about 3 to 4 years old. It was caught live but has since been killed and will be sent to the University of Illinois to determine if it was artificially raised or naturally bred.
Thoughts? At this point do you think carp in the Great Lakes is pretty much an inevitability?