CHICAGO, IL – Fear has risen over the discovery of a fish in the Great Lakes!
The Asian Carp isn’t exactly considered a friend to the ecosystem of the Great Lakes. So it comes as no surprise that the discovery of one would prompt fear and efforts to keep them out. An Asian Carp was found for the first time beyond electric barriers meant to keep them out of the Great Lakes.
Commercial fishermen landed the 3-foot-long, 20-pound bighead carp in Lake Calumet on Chicago’s South Side, about six miles from Lake Michigan, according to the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.
“The threat to the Great Lakes depends on how many have access to the lakes, which depends on how many are in the Chicago waterway right now,” said John Rogner, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Environmental groups see the situation as a more pressing matter. The discovery makes them believe that other Asian Carp have breached barriers designed to prevent them from migrating from the Mississippi River system to the Great Lakes. They also feels as though the government needs to act faster.
“If the capture of this live fish doesn’t confirm the urgency of this problem, nothing will,” said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office.
Scientists and fishermen fear that if the carp become established in the lakes, they could starve out popular sport species and ruin the region’s $7 billion fishing industry. Asian Carp can grow to 4 feet and 100 pounds and eat up to 40 percent of their body weight.