Asian Carp

Study Recommends Beefing Up Great Lakes Asian Carp Defenses

Aug 7, 2017
Dan O'Keefe / Michigan Sea Grant

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will release a study today detailing the best ways to prevent Asian carp from getting into the Great Lakes.

A document outlining the study says the current defense – an underwater electric barrier – should be beefed up. The recommended plan would add complex noises, like the underwater recordings of a boat motor.

Live Asian Carp Discovered Near Lake Michigan

Jun 26, 2017
Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Fears that Asian carp could show up in the Great Lakes were renewed when one of the fish was caught on June 22 near the T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam in the Little Calumet River, just nine miles from Lake Michigan.

Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee

Asian Carp are an invasive group of fish that can compete with native wildlife for food and habitat. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains an electrical barrier to prevent the fish from entering Lake Michigan, but the problem spans all across Illinois. 

Asian Carp were first brought to the United States through aquaculture facilities, or fish farms, as a way to deal with algae in the tanks and make the resulting product tastier. The fish farms often are placed next to rivers for water sources.

Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee / JENNIFER BRDLIK ELEVATED CARE

While Illinois deals with invasive Asian Carp in its waterways, medical marijuana plants are ripening for sale across the state. 

The two issues might share an economic link.

Medical cannabis is set for sale this fall.  That’s caught the attention of some of the state’s fishing industry.  

A fish processing company in northwestern Illinois sees the budding medical pot business as a new market for a product they sell, made of Asian Carp from the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.  

Flickr user Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee / "School of Jumping Silver Carp" (CC BY 2.0)

Asian carp, an invasive species in northern Illinois, may be declining. That eases the concern of them spreading into the Great Lakes.

But the area’s not out of the woods yet.

Matt O’Hara, an Asian carp project leader for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, says the carp can ruin the ecosystems in the Illinois River and its tributaries. That’s because they eat the same food that other native species – such as big-mouth bass – live on.

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