Thursday, August 26, 2010

About Those Asian Carp

If you are unfamiliar with this invasive threat to the Great Lakes check out his video.

A few varieties of carp are already living and breeding in Lake Michigan. Here is one I caught fishing for perch a few years ago.

These carp are bottom feeders, kind of like politicians. While they are rather harmless in the Great Lakes their presence in small inland lakes do a lot of damage to the spawning areas of edible game fish.

But this new breed of carp, asian carp, are much more of a threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem as well as small craft navigation.

From the Lake Michigan Perch story here and subsequent comment made by Dan there was an email sent to him from a lady named Emily. Dan forwarded it along to me.

In the email Emily asked if (through this blog) we would support her organization. Their website is here.

This organization lobbies for the shipping interests, agribusiness and unions judging by the list of sponsors.

I sent an email response to Emily. In it I asked a number of questions before it earned my support, blog or not. She never offered a response.

Illinois has installed electronic barriers in the canal system that connects Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River to stop the carp. So far it has worked. But that has not stopped other Great Lakes states from taking a proactive position against Illinois, who refuses to close any locks leading to Lake Michigan.

From Wikipedia:

“On December 21, 2009, Michigan State Attorney General Mike Cox filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking the immediate closure of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to keep the Asian Carp out of Lake Michigan. Neighboring Great Lakes states and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which constructed the Canal, are codefendants in the lawsuit.”

The SCOTUS refused to hear the case.

Invasive species are not new to the Great Lakes. Sea lamprey (a large eel-like parasite) entering through the seaway eliminated the native lake trout early in the 20th century. Having no other food source the lamprey went away and a non-native lake trout was introduced through stocking.

Alewife (a form of herring) entered through the seaway as well but this prompted the introduction of pacific salmon to the lakes creating a new sport fishery. Biologists were able to solve that problem with a positive.

Zebra mussels and goby entered the lakes through freighter ejected ballast water. All have upset the balance of the ecosystem but not to the degree these carp will.

In the above video you can see at the :40sec mark that a jumping asian carp can interrupt a boat operator causing loss of control. These aren't tiny gobies or mussels we're talking about, these fish are a life-threatening phenomenon. Not good at all.

It is my position is that everything should be done to stop these carp from entering the lakes. It seems foolish to close the locks and disrupt commerce.

I asked Emily in my email if her lobbying group was committed to installing additional electronic barriers or finding alternative solutions and if the sponsors were considering paying for them. Or, were they relying on the Army Corps of Engineers and government tarp money or some other form of porkulus. Their website claims they do but not to what degree.

If Emily responded with some facts then I would consider her lobbying group legitimate and willing to help solve the problem benefiting both sides. Since no response came I not only refuse to support her group, I am 110% against it.

I have already emailed governors, congressmen and senators from Michigan, Indiana and Illinois expressing my concerns with asian carp and I suggest you do the same.

Other than that I don’t know what else I can do other than blog about it and enjoy the lakes until the carp arrive. Until then maybe I should get in some practice with a bow and arrow.

It is only a matter of time before they enter the Great Lakes. Once they are in they will be impossible to remove.


Peggasus said...

My middle brother works for the Dept. of the Interior in D.C., and has also worked for the Army Corps in the past. He goes around the country doing alot of environmental impact and wetland studies. He is VERY pessimistic about the Lakes' futures, and thinks it's probably already too late. It's so depressing.

Carl from Chicago said...

I love that guy shooting those fish with the bow and arrow

But man are they dangerous I guess they knock people unconscious when they jump into your boat