And now a bit of correspondence from the front lines of the war on Asian carp. According to this story on Kentucky.com, biologist Jon Amberg has spent the last two years poking around in the guts of Asian carp. Why? Because he believes designer drugs may be the answer for stopping the spread of the fish throughout the Mississippi River drainage, and it seems he may have finally found the right mix of poison to start sniping carp. And, I’m not kidding about the sniping part.
The story points out that trying to treat the Asian carp epidemic chemically–as in dumping pesticide into waterways–is too risky because it would likely affect other fish species. Amberg’s “bio-bullets,” on the other hand, would “deliver toxins specifically to silver and big head carp in a digestible micro-size particle, about the width of a human hair. Built to mimic food, the pill would then break apart in the carp’s intestine, releasing its lethal load and killing the fish.”
Similar practices have been used to deliver vaccines to salmon, so the researchers figured what works to heal can work to kill. Naturally, there are skeptics. From the story:
Other scientists have also wondered if the reconfigured toxins might result in unintended environmental consequences. Nano-size silver particles, for instance, have been shown to harm a range of species in laboratory experiments, according to Andrew Maynard, director of the Risk Science Center at the University of Michigan. “From a technology perspective, this is very inspiring,” Maynard said. “But if you are releasing new particles into the environment, there are certain questions that you need to ask: What do they do? Where do they end up? How long do they last?”
What do you think? Is the bio-bullet method too risky?