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Lots Of Dead Fish, But Are Any Of Them Carp?

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Dec 3, 2009 8:40PM

The reckoning has come for fish living in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources 2,200 gallons of the poison Rotenone into the canal in an attempt to stave off an invasion of Asian carp. But did it work? Media reports so far today say there are thousands of dead fish bobbing to the surface but so far none of them are carp. Of course, the process could take a while. Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris McCloud told the Trib, "This process will take all day and into tomorrow." Lynn Whelan, spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, suggested patience, saying, "The clean-up operation just started this morning, I think it's a little early to be jumping to conclusions." And so what if carp do start turning up in the fish morgue? Does it matter? The Sun-Times suggests not:

Though the operation is costing nearly $3 million, it does nothing to provide a long-term solution to keeping the massive jumping carp -- whose presence could potentially devastate sport and commercial fishing throughout the Great Lakes -- out of Lake Michigan.

Officials said this week that they are continuing to study a variety of options to halt the invasion, including possibly sealing two locks that are heavily used by boats and barges.

But with the carp threatening an industry worth $7 billion a year - as well as facing lawsuits and scrutiny from other Great Lakes states - officials are looking for any kind of stop-gap that can prevent the carp's spread. As John Rogner, assistant director of the Dept. of Natural Resources said yesterday, "It's time to man the barricades."