Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Invasion of the Asian Carp - Update

Quebec officials have confirmed that Asian Carp have arrived in the St. Lawrence River. At least four types of the invasive species of fish have been gradually making their way up the Mississippi river and through the Great Lakes for several years. Last summer a 29 kg Asian Carp was caught and DNA tests have confirmed that others were found at 16 spots, from southwestern Quebec to Lake St. Pierre near Trois Rivieres.
Originally from China, Asian Carp were imported into the U.S. by fish farmers in the Southern States in 1963 to control vegetation and alge blooms. The fish escaped into the wild and have been reproducing uncontrollably, moving inexorably towards the Great Lakes.

Asian carp are jolted by an electric current from a research boat
The large carp leave popular sport fish to go hungry and suffer massive population drop-offs. Asian carp are edible but bony, and most Great Lakes fishermen regard them as a poor substitute for native walleye and whitefish.

Human history is peppered with manmade mishaps that lead to catastrophic ecosystem imbalances. At their recent pace, the first young carp could reach Lake Michigan within two years, promising to decimate fisheries.
For over a decade experts have called for officials to create a physical barrier to separate Lake Michigan from the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal — a manmade connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Those pleas continue to fall on deaf ears.