Asian carp found downstream from Lake Michigan
Written by Chicago Sun-Times   
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 20:24
Fishermen have netted a single Asian carp upstream from an electric barrier meant to keep the invasive species out of Lake Michigan — the first time one of the dreaded carp have been found past the barrier.

The 20-pound male carp was caught Tuesday in the northwest corner of Lake Calumet, about six miles downstream from Lake Michigan, said John Rogner, Illinois Department of Natural Resources assistant director.

“How did it get there? We simply don’t know for sure,” Rogner said today.

Carp DNA had previously been detected upstream from the barrier, which is along the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal in far southwest suburban Romeoville.

But the fish found Tuesday by a commercial fisherman was the first evidence that Asian carp may have actually breached the barrier.

Asian carp can grow up to four feet long, weigh 100 pounds and jump into boats and onto waterskiers. Their voracious appetites can squeeze out other commercially valuable fish. Naturalists have long maintained colonies of the fish could devastate the Great Lakes.

Rogner said the carp found Tuesday could have either breached the barrier or been dumped into Lake Calumet, as similar carp were dumped into lagoons at the Lincoln Park Zoo and McKinley Park.

Testing the carp will determine its exact age and possibly if it was farm-raised, he said. Fishermen contracted by the state continue to search for more evidence of Asian carp past the barrier.

Environmental groups have argued that closing the man-made locks is the only way to guarantee carp do not travel into Lake Michigan. Shipping industry officials contend closing the locks will raise commodities prices by shuttering a direct shipping path between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.

“At this time here is no intention to close the locks,” said Mike White of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
 
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