When I first read this article and the others that I could find on this subject I was amused. While I can understand the concern, I do believe that the way this article and a few of the others are constructed they make this fish sound like the second coming of Godzilla. Having been born a raised in West Tennessee, I had never really embraced the fear of this species of fish the way it seems to envelope the people here. It’s a fish, brain food and just as good as eating catfish if properly prepared. It’s not a giant lizard coming to the shores of the Great Lakes to devour all and everything in its path. Here are the reasons the people here sound fearful of these creatures and my thoughts regarding that fear, you be the judge.
An Asian carp was found for the first time beyond electric barriers meant to keep the voracious invasive species out of the Great Lakes, state and federal officials said Wednesday, prompting renewed calls for swift action to block their advance. Two electric barriers, which emit pulses to scare the carp away or give a jolt if they proceed, are a last line of defense. The Army corps plans to complete another one this year. A commercial fisherman 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. 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 daily. (Dai, Serena and Flesher, John; 6/23/2010, Associated Press, Single Asian carp found 6 miles from Lake Michigan, Retrieved from [email protected]). Asian carp wreak havoc with their ravenous appetites, high reproduction rates and their ability to survive predators. A fish will eat 5 to10 percent of its body weight a day in plankton – and they can weigh up to 100 pounds (45 kg), said Michael Hoff, a fisheries biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). This is far more than what native fish species eat. Because they consume such massive amounts of plankton (a group of tiny free-floating plants and animals) and other organisms, which are the base of the food chain in lakes and rivers, the fish can disrupt the natural flow of nutrients through the ecosystem. So the fact that they consume so much plankton means much of the sun’s energy that those plankton captured during photosynthesis never becomes available to the other organisms in the food chain, Hoff said.
“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. “Is it disturbing? Extraordinarily. Is it surprising? No,” Joel Brammeier, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, said of the carp’s discovery beyond the barriers. In Michigan, officials renewed their demand to shut down two shipping locks on the Chicago waterways that could provide a path to Lake Michigan. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice rejected the state’s request to order the locks closed, but state Attorney General Mike Cox said he was considering more legal action. “Responsibility for this potential economic and ecological disaster rests solely with President Obama,” Cox said. “He must take action immediately by ordering the locks closed and producing an emergency plan to stop Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan.” He said the capture highlights the need to permanently sever the link between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. “Invaders will stop at nothing short of bricks and mortar, and time is running short to get that protection in place,” Brammeier said. A Chicago-based industry coalition called Unlock Our Jobs said the discovery of a single carp did not justify closing the locks. Doing so would damage the region’s economy and kill jobs without guaranteeing that carp would be unable to reach the lakes. (Dai, Serena and Flesher, John; 6/23/2010, Associated Press, Single Asian carp found 6 miles from Lake Michigan, Retrieved from [email protected]).
There are now four species of Asian carp – grass, bighead, silver and black – found in the United States, and they likely first entered the waterways by escaping from fish farms beginning in the early 1960s, said Duane Chapman, research biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Asian grass carp were probably in the waters in the 1960s, and silver carp were caught from the wild throughout the 1970s. In 1981, the first catch of a bighead carp was reported, Chapman said. By outcompeting other fish for food, the carp have become the most abundant species in some areas of the Mississippi, and have steadily made their way north, according to the EPA. Densities of Asian carp in parts of the Mississippi River are thought to be among the highest in the world, according to the FWS. (Rowan, Karen, 6/24/2010, Live Science, Why Are Asian Carp So Fearsome?, Retrieved from www.livescience.com).
The reproductive rate of the carp also sets them ahead of the native species. A single female bighead carp can lay up to 1.9 million eggs in a single year, according to one estimate, Michael Hoff, a fisheries biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Although it is likely that only about 1 percent to 3 percent of these eggs will grow to become adult fish, the numbers are still higher than they are for native species. (Rowan, Karen, 6/24/2010, Live Science, Why Are Asian Carp So Fearsome?, Retrieved from www.livescience.com). The fish was sexually mature, but Lake Calumet’s conditions aren’t conducive to reproduction because the water is too still, John Rogner, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said. Even so, the lake is the ideal living environment for the fish because it’s quiet and near a river system, he added. (Dai, Serena and Flesher, John; 6/23/2010, Associated Press, Single Asian carp found 6 miles from Lake Michigan, Retrieved from [email protected]).
Many of the concerns are quite legitimate and sound reasonable however there are a few that make me go “what”. One of them were saying that this issue is worthy of the weight of the President of the United States, Barack Obama. With all of the major issues facing this nation, do we really need the president to put all of that aside to concentrate on this fish issue? Another is the fear that the Asian carp will take-over the Great Lakes, I would go along with that if not for John Rogner said that Lake Calumet is not conducive to reproduction but the one that really caused me to scratch my head was this, “the giant fish have the potential to injure boaters – silver carp are startled by motors and react by leaping out of the water, occasionally landing in boats.” “These leaps could cause human fatalities, according to the FWS (Rowan, Karen, 6/24/2010, Live Science, Why Are Asian Carp So Fearsome?, Retrieved from www.livescience.com)
My solution is making “carping a form of coarse fishing “(Unknown Author, Bait for Carp Fishing, Retrieved fromwww.smarter.com). This is being done in the United Kingdom and carp is not bad eating. We could make it a contest to see how many carps fishermen can pull out of the lake and deploy more of those electric barriers. This shutdown should not cause workers one job, but then that’s just my opinion.