Entries in Illinois River (5)
DNA from Asian carp recently was confirmed in Lake Erie for the first time. Just as disturbing, though, is that the number of samples testing positive in the Chicago canal system also spiked, meaning that the likelihood increases that the exotic fish are in or about to enter Lake Michigan.
The future of a multi-billion-dollar sport fishery lies in the balance, as does the economic welfare of U.S. and Canadian communities all around the Great Lakes.
In response, our federal government will expedite its study of the problem. Meanwhile, a pathway --- the canal system that connects Lake Michigan to the Illinois River --- remains open for carp to enter the Great Lakes and for an estimated 185 species of exotics to migrate out of the Great Lakes and into the river, which is a part of the massive Mississippi River basin.
But, hey, we shouldn’t worry about it. The feds are “studying” the situation.
This editorial from The Cleveland Plain Dealer does a great job of assessing the situation. Here are a couple of excerpts:
“The latest nonevent in President Barack Obama's attempt to buy time while failing to act to stop the threatened Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes was his administration's announcement Tuesday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would expedite its action plan.”
“This week's announcement seems more like an election-year ploy to mollify critics furious over Obama's failure to recognize the gravity of the carp threat. These plankton predators are in the Chicago Area Waterway System that connects the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan. Without urgent action, it is only a matter of time until they lay waste to the Great Lakes' multibillion-dollar commercial and sports fishing industry and the 800,000 jobs it supports.”
Asian carp now make up more than 60 percent of the total fish biomass in the main channel of the Illinois River.
Researchers from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale made that discovery during 18 months of research for a report entitled “Fishing Down the Bighead and Silver Carps: Reducing the Risk of Invasion to the Great Lakes.”
The best solution to the problem: Catch and eat the invaders.
Here is what Science Daily says in its article about the edibility of Asian carp:
“The fish is high in protein and healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids. Most fish also were low in contaminates. It has a mild flavor and is among one of the healthier fish for consumption, given its plankton feeding habits. In China, where the head of the bighead variety is used to make soup, the fish has been hunted to near eradication.”
Carp shooters could be patrolling the Illinois River next year with their shotguns poised and ready to blast high-flying invasive species.
That’s because this bill has been introduced into the state legislature:
“Amends the Fish and Aquatic Life Code.
“Provides that the Department of Natural Resources shall establish an Asian carp pilot program to permit licensed individuals to shoot Asian carp with a shotgun off of a motorboat in the Illinois River beginning with the 2013 licensing year.
“Provides that the individuals must have the appropriate license and use a specific type of ammunition.
“Provides that the Department may adopt administrative rules to establish and administer the pilot program.”
I’m with the Chicagoist on this one. It says, “Shotguns, jumping fish, and boats speeding along on bumpy water. What could go wrong?”
Still, I salute American ingenuity. This is just as likely to control Asian carp as anything the federal government has done so far.
And it sounds like fun! I'd also recommend having gun boats at the ready in Lake Michigan. Carp are on their way.
If you have 5 minutes to spare, check out this video from the Peoria Carp Hunters.
I admire their tenacity and their objective --- taking it to the flying silver carp that have made boating on the Illinois River a contact sport. Their methods, though . . . Well, see for yourself.