The region faces an environmental disaster if this invasive fish species isn’t stopped in Chicago, Ill.
FOR A MAY 3, 2012 UPDATE, VISIT: GREAT LAKES ASIAN CARP INVASION REPORT
The Asian carp’s journey up the Mississippi River and into the Illinois River place them on the edge of Lake Michigan; Their next move– into the Great Lakes– is slightly deterred by the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.
Government agencies could stop the deadly Asian carp advance forever by shutting down the canal in Chicago. But that creates problems for wealthy shipping companies.
Flying Fish on the YouTube videos and television news reports
Asian carp are the “flying fish” in the Illinois River many people have seen on Internet YouTube videos and television. Asian carp jump out of the water when startled by boat motors and can slam into the heads of unsuspecting boaters.
Some humans along the Illinois River hold contests to deal with the rivers Asian carp invasion. One famous contest is called the “Redneck [sic]Games” [THE LAST COLUMNIST DOES NOT CONDONE RACIST TERMINOLOGY, BUT LOCALS PARTICIPATING IN THIS CONTEST USE THE TERM].
Hundreds of people launch their boats and use cross-bow arrows to shoot Asian carp “flying” out of the water. Many boaters and fishermen suffer serious injuries when these massive fish jump out of the water and slam into their faces.
Short history of Asian Carp presence in the United States
During the early 1970s, Southern catfish farmers along the Mississippi River imported Asian carp to keep catfish ponds clear of algae. Asian carp (a collective term for Silver and Big Head carp) act like fresh water vacuum cleaners. In the wild, they eat the native species out of house and home.
The Mississippi floods during the 1990s allowed many Asian carp to escape due to catfish farms overflowing their banks.
Many carp migrated north. Their breeding habits allow populations to quickly multiply. They moved into the Illinois River system and now threaten to destroy the Great Lakes ecosystem.
It could take 20 years to infest waterways like the Au Sable, Manistee and Huron rivers. But if the carp establish territory in the Great Lakes, it’s only a matter of time before they reach every river and inland lake.
The Carp Stops Here
The primary entry point for Asian carp into the Great Lakes is through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The canal links the Mississippi and the Illinois rivers to the Great Lakes in Chicago, Ill., on the western edge of Lake Michigan.
Government authorities must shut down the canal immediately to spare the Great Lakes.
Asian carp cause massive habitat destruction; The carp kill or push out the native fish by eating all plant material.
Trout, Salmon, Bass, Blue Gill, Perch, Sturgeon and Tiger Muskie face serious problems if Asian carp aren’t eradicated. The carp don’t belong anywhere in the United States.
Concerned residents should visit U.S. Dept. of Interior or Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources Websites for more information on Asian carp.
Stopping the invasion
The U.S. government constructed an inferior electric fish-killing fence across the Chicago Canal in a pitiful attempt to stop the onslaught. Government officials recently increased voltage due to ineffective results.
Although most wildlife biologists and Mich. residents want the canal closed immediately, canal operators and shipping companies have unlimited financial resources to garner support from local and national politicians. The electric fence went up as a “cosmetic” solution to quash environmental protesters.
When ships go through the canal, carp can bypass the electric fence or end up in the ballast water of such ships.
High water levels also allow fish to bypass the electric fence.
Shutting down the canal would require transferring dry freight between 100 ships-a-day over land to ship or train. Many local and international shipping interests protest such a move due to short term economic gain.
For whom the carp bell tolls, it is the Great Lakes
Some people say it’s too late to stop Asian carp invasion. Many question if the Mich. Dept. of Natural Resources will even tell the public if carp have already established residence in the Great Lakes.
If allowed to begin territorial expansion in the Great Lakes, the Asian carp will multiply quickly and destroy native fish species. Asian carp eat everything and can reach 60-90 pounds, leaving nothing for native species.
In late 2010, the Ann Arbor Observer reported on two University of Michigan research scientists who said Asian carp can’t survive in the Great Lakes or Michigan rivers due to the winter climate. THE LAST COLUMNIST questions if the canal operators and shipping companies fund their research through shadow research grants.
Most sane people will argue the fish have survived harsh conditions in the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. The carp have wintered in Chicago, which mirror conditions found in the connecting Great Lakes.
In June of this year, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan spoke about the Asian carp crisis.
In an interview published in the June 29 edition of the Metro Times, Senator Stabenow told Wayne State University journalism professor and Metro Times columnist Jack Lessenberry that Asian carp are “the fish that keeps me up at night.”
Jack Lessenberry writes about Senator Stabenow’s concerns in his column: “pressing the Obama administration to do more to stop the giant invasive species from getting into the Great Lakes is a major priority of hers….”
THE LAST COLUMNIST has received emails charging the Obama administration with complacency or collusion regarding the Asian carp crisis. THE LAST COLUMNIST reminds President Obama’s detractors that previous administrations have also acted in the best interest of canal owners and shipping companies, rather than protecting the Great Lakes from guaranteed destruction.
Scientists and Wildlife Biologists must find a way to harness radio/sound waves to move the Asian carp into an area and net them for food distribution to the poor.
Or consider the last resort and conduct a specialized Carp kill using poison. Hit them in the Mississippi, Illinois and Chicago river systems; Collect as many dead fish as possible and incinerate them. Don’t wait for them on approach at the Chicago Canal.
More on the Great Lakes Asian Carp invasion in a later update.
Coming soon: The Chinese Communist Party’s colonization and genocide in Africa– Somalia, Sudan/Darfur; The Tibetan Tunnel and the CCP’s plan to conquer India; The story of who really sent D.B. Cooper
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