On PBS News Hour Jim Lehrer, “Carp Invade, Threaten Great Lakes’ Ecosystem”


 January 25, 2010

By Tom Bearden Watch Here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/environment/jan-june10/carp_01-25.htTOM

 There was a huge cry when Sea Lampreys, a US  ocean species, made its way into the Great Lakes and deystroyed a part of the Great Lakes Endemic Fisheries.The US and Canadian Governments have paid millions of dollars to mitigate Sea Lampreys that got into the Great Lakes mostly to save important endemic fisheries.

Now we transplanted the excotic Asian Carp near the Great Lakes and as they get into the lakes they will possibly be the end of a fisheries, as we know it,  in the Great Lakes. I can only hope the Asian Carp is controlled in the Great Lakes. The Asian Carp will wipe out, or almost, Great Lakes endemic fisheries. This exotic fish can pose huge damage in the Great Lakes.


BEARDEN: These are the invaders, large fish that leap high out of the water when disturbed. They are called Asian carp. The Chinese have been growing them for food for 1,000 years. But, to Americans, they are an invasive species, destroying the habitat of native fish in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to Chicago. The fear that they will do the same to the Great Lakes has set state against state, with Michigan filing suit, along with five other Great Lakes states, to force Illinois and the federal government to stop these fish in their tracks. JIM ROBINETT, vice president of animal regulation, Shedd Aquarium: This is a bighead carp right here, and this is a little guy. I have collected them on the Illinois River, where they are easily twice that length. They would weigh upwards of 50 pounds. I have been told they will hit 100 pounds. But these guys will eat probably at least half their body weight in plankton every single day. TOM BEARDEN: Eating that much plankton scares Jim Robinett, vice president of animal regulation at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Plankton consist of several species of tiny plants and animals in the water. They are the foundation of the entire food chain. JIM ROBINETT: It is an issue that is a potential time bomb, I would say. It would have a devastating affect on the Great Lakes if the Asian carp were to get in there and be able to reproduce in huge numbers. It could wipe out the upwards of $7 billion fishery in the Great Lakes by just outcompeting all the desirable fish. TOM BEARDEN: One hundred and twenty-five miles across the lake, in Muskegon, Michigan, commercial fishermen Paul Jensen is worried the carp could destroy his business. He spent decades trying to cope with the more than 180 invasive species already in Lake Michigan. PAUL JENSEN: I am quite certain that the commercial fishing business in Michigan and in all the Great Lakes States has been driven down by the invasive species arrival, because it keeps changing the game. And fisherman are adaptive creatures, but, you know, the — the adaptions cost money and time and — and create big issues. And we get worried about the next one, just like the carp. TOM BEARDEN: One path for invasive species was the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Hailed as an engineering marvel when the city opened it in 1900, the canal reversed the flow of the Chicago River and established a water link between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River system. The canal made Chicago an important port, and it also carried sewage away from the city. To stop the carp from using the canal to enter Lake Michigan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built an underwater electric barrier in 2002. A second larger installation followed, and a third is planned. MIKE COX, attorney general, Michigan: There’s been DNA found here of both kinds of carp, both kinds of carp found here. TOM BEARDEN: But when small traces of carp DNA showed up beyond the barriers, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox asked the Supreme Court to order Chicago to close the locks that link the river to the lake. MIKE COX: They are ecological and economic danger to the Great Lakes. And, quite simply, they are biological terrorists. And if they get in our Great Lakes, and hit, impact the ecology and the economy of eight different states, two different Canadian provinces, it could cost billions. TOM BEARDEN: On Tuesday, the court issued a one-sentence statement denying Michigan’s request to immediately close the locks. While the preliminary injunction was denied, Cox says the Supreme Court could order the larger case back to a lower court, appoint a special master to oversee a settlement, or order the waterway to be permanently closed.


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