Keeping invasive bighead and Asian carp populations from moving out of Midwestern rivers and into the Great Lakes has been a high priority for fisheries managers for years. And so far, most initiatives have largely been effective. To help fund future efforts, the federal government released $50 million to reinforce current carp barriers and create more advanced, effective long-term solutions.
The fish were imported decades ago to help control algae in southern waters, but they quickly spread to the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Now some of the strongest populations dwell in Great Lakes tributaries. Because they rely on the same food sources as other fish, biologists worry about the species’ detrimental effects if they establish themselves in the nation’s largest freshwater lakes.
An article from the Traverse City Record Eagle says an electric fish barrier a few miles outside Chicago has done an adequate job of keeping fish at bay, but federal agencies like the Corps of Engineers plan to use some of the funding to test other methods of catching, killing or controlling the unwanted fish.
“Much progress has been made in the development and refinement of Asian carp detection and control tools and in the understanding of the food and habitat required for Asian carp reproduction and survival,” said Leon Carl, Midwest Region Director of the U.S. Geological Survey. The goal now is to “get these new technologies and information into the hands of managers and other decision makers,” he said.
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