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Carp Captured: Invasive Bighead Carp Caught Near Lake Michigan
CHICAGO (June 23, 2010) – The nightmare scenario of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes through Chicago waterways is closer to reality as the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee announced today that they had captured an invasive bighead carp in Lake Calumet, 6 miles away from Lake Michigan. The fish’s capture bolsters repeated environmental DNA tests which have shown that the carp have evaded an electrical barrier intended to prevent their movement out of canals artificially connecting the Great Lakes and Mississippi River system. Scientists and government regulators agree that the invasive fish pose a dire threat to the Lakes because of their size and voracious appetites.
Environmental groups throughout the Great Lakes have been advocating for quick action to impede the carp’s headlong swim towards Lake Michigan, even as federal officials and business interests have questioned the validity of cutting edge science that pointed to the invasive species’ presence. Today’s news brings a renewed call for more agile efforts to prevent the carp’s movement. Many organizations have called for hydrologic separation of the two systems to ensure the movement of the carp and other invasive species is stopped. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently said that a study of this solution will take five to seven years.
“This is a great example of how as we talk about possible solutions the fish keep on swimming,” said Jill Ryan, Executive Director of Freshwater Future. “Now is the time to move to hydrologically separate the Great Lakes watershed from the Mississippi watershed. To make this happen we need everyone to demand action.”