Stop Asian Carp

There are a couple of reasons why our Great Lakes are so great, and one of those reasons is that there are a very good variety of ecosystems. What if there was something that could potentially devastate those ecosystems? Well, Asian carp can do just that. The conditions found in the Great lakes such as water temperature and food support a variety of species. Unfortunately,  asian carp could out number all other native species, as is happening in the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

Why are the Asian carp so dangerous? Asian carp are filter feeders, meaning they eat the plankton that that the lower end of the food chain needs to survive. And if there’s no food for the smaller species, then the bigger fish will suffer. Commercial and sport fisheries bring a annual amount of $7 billion dollars, and if there’s no fish to catch, then their jobs and livelihoods will be destroyed.

Asian carp pose additional threats. Being able to jump as high as 6 feet and weighing from 20-100lbs, asian carp rare a hazard to boaters and colliding with one could result in serious injury or death. Now this could be a problem, because when there is an electric pulse, or just a disturbance in the water, asian carp like to jump out of the water into the air, hitting or landing on anything that’s in its way. In this act of stupidity, Asian carp put our boaters in danger.

Well, you are probably wondering how Asian carp could get into the Great lakes. It all started when we imported them from Asia to help clean the algae and scum from farmers’ ponds along the Mississippi River. When the banks of the Mississippi overflowed, the Asian carp escaped into the river and created a fairly good population. Then they migrated all the way up the Mississippi to the Illinois River and now at the front door to Lake Michigan, the Chicago shipping canals.

Now you might ask what we are doing to prevent this from happening. There are organizations and local fisherman catching and killing Asian carp by the thousands. The DNR has put electric fences along several waterways and closed one. The president has signed into law the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, which includes direction from congress and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to lead an effort to slow and hopefully stop the spread of Asian carp. If we don’t stop Asian carp from taking what we so dearly love, then the Great lakes won’t be so great anymore.

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