Folks, I’m telling you: It’s just a matter of time until Asian carp --- bighead and silver --- are in Lake Michigan, and, from there, they will spread to other Great Lakes, where they will devastate the billion-dollar sport fishery.
At least three times this summer, silver carp DNA has been found above the electric barrier designed to keep them out of the Great Lakes, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
That prompted John Goss, the White House carp czar to say: "Finding three or more consecutive sets of positive (environmental) DNA samples in the same area triggers us to use significant resources to try to find a physical specimen."
Don’t know about you, but that certainly reassures me that our government is taking care of the problem.
Meanwhile Bill Taylor, a fisheries scientist at Michigan State, is calling for hydrologic separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River basin. In other words, putting things back the way they were before we connected them decades ago so that Chicago’s pollution would flow downstream.
“I am tired of studying what we already know is going to happen (carp migrating into the Great Lakes),” Taylor said. “We’ve watched this coming on for 10 years. We know what’s going to happen.
“The Asian carp are going to whack the tributaries,” he continued. “They’re going to eat all the food – they eat anything they get in their mouth and that means they’ll eat the food base that our resident fish would normally eat. They will change the food web and dominate our streams and near shore regions in the Great Lakes basin.”
Meanwhile, the Mississippi Interstate Resource Association reports some disturbing discoveries regarding Asian carp and how they will fare in the Great Lakes:
Asian carp larvae learn to swim vertically at younger ages than scientists previously assumed. That means they don’t need to be suspended as long in turbulent water as previously thought and that suggests that shorter river segments or even coastal areas of the Great Lakes could support reproduction. Thus, capacity to breed and spread appears much greater.
Asian carp eat Chladophora, a common alga that grows along much of the Great Lakes Shoreline. Previously, scientists had hoped that the Great Lakes wouldn’t provide enough food to allow the invaders to become established. Now, it appears, there is plenty.