Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Asian Carp Swim Towards the Great Lakes

It was the news that authorities and scientists had been dreading — an Asian carp had made its way beyond an electric barrier that had been erected in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to prevent the species from making its way in the Great Lakes. The large, invasive fish — weighing up to 100 lbs and measuring up to 3 feet long — has been the source of fear for scientists for some time, as it's been migrating up the Mississippi River which leads to Lake Michigan via the canal. Originally imported by catfish farmers to feed on algae, Asian carp are now considered to be an invasive species because they can eat up to 40 percent of their body weight daily, wreaking havoc on ecosystems. If these fish invade the Great Lakes, it is speculated that they would likely wipe out many of the waters' native fish, like trout.

Money is still being put towards tightening up the electrical barrier in the canal and on November 17, 2010 the Senate passed the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act, which prohibits importing or shipping Asian carp in the U.S., in another attempt to protect the Great Lakes.