Great Lakes War: Attack of the Asian Carp

A difficult battle has been emerging since the Asian carp invaded the Mississippi River in the seventies.  This invasive species, becoming more prevalent with international trade, are a growing concern in the Great Lakes because of the amount they can consume.  As consumers of plankton, they pose as an indirect threat to larger fish higher up on the food chain. If their presence in the Great Lakes increases, “they could utterly disrupt the existing ecosystem” and ruin any source of fish the Great Lakes has to offer (Walsh 2).  They also endanger boaters because they hurl into the air when startled.  The movie we watched in class showed a contest of this event where boaters rode through the river with nets trying to catch the most Asian carp, but this would be less of a game when the unsuspecting travelers are smacked in the face with a forty-pound fish.

Controlling the carp can also a very difficult task, depending on the area they invade. In order to reproduce they need a long river, so as long we deny them access to those they could potentially die out on their own.  An electric barrier was installed into the Sanitary and Ship Canal to prevent fish from entering the Great Lakes, but they are unsure if some are getting through. Once they infiltrate the Great Lakes they have no North American predators, like they do in their native water, so their population can multiply rapidly.  In order to prevent this issue from becoming a significant danger, governments are fighting to enforce solutions. Michigan and Wisconsin governors are fighting for the locks in the canal in Chicago to be shut down and the White House are implementing plans for more barriers.  People can also prevent the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes by not moving live fish and only using wild-caught baitfish in the same waters that it came from.  If we try to control the problem now, hopefully we can stop it before it spreads into an ecological disaster.

Christina Evenson

Sources:

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1962108,00.html#

http://www.asiancarp.org/faq.asp#6

Advertisements

2 responses

  1. Every year my family goes fishing on lake Michigan and several other smaller rivers. I could not imagine having to duck for cover as the asian carp jump through the air. Part of Michigan is having its amazing ecosystem and fishing, which generates money for the state through tourism. So I really hope that the electric barrier and other ways to stop these fish is working.

    Michael Schork

  2. I also went fishing on the inner parts of the Marnistee Area Rivers. I remember being really young, loving the sight of seeing the fish jumping out and into the water. The water system should be preserved, basically because it creates memories – and memories and beautiful. This also, as Michael mentioned, generates money for the Michigan trade economy. It services two important needs.

    Zac Brunell

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: