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New Evidence That Asian Carp Swim Among Us

By JoshMogerman in News on Jul 24, 2011 8:00PM

Dead silver carp [WikiCommons]
The latest flare-up of our apparently never-ending Asian carp infection came this week at an inconvenient point for the Army Corps of Engineers, a U.S. Congressman and Indiana business leaders.

On the same day that the Army Corps of Engineers General formerly in charge of doing battle with Asian carp published an opinion piece extolling the virtues of an electric barrier keeping the aquatic menace at bay, new evidence came to light of the fish taking up residence in Chicago waterways, well-past that barrier. Oops. It seems that recent testing in May and June showed silver carp DNA in Lake Calumet, the North Shore Channel and South Branch of the Chicago River. The new hits bring the total positive Asian carp DNA samples in the Chicago Area Waterways past the electric barrier to 81.

Earlier in the month Indiana Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence expressed consternation at continued calls for physical barriers, noting that Asian carp are a "serious but manageable threat to the Great Lakes region." The CEO of the Ports of Indiana and Director of Indiana Department of Natural Resources took a less nuanced tone in their opinion piece “A Voice of Reason Amid Carp Hysteria.” Those positions are not bolstered by this week’s renewed evidence that current anti-carp tactics have their limitations. Great Lakes advocates are renewing a call for more aggressive action to keep the voracious fish out of Lake Michigan where the fish could wreak havoc on an already stressed ecosystem:

"The Army Corps and a number of other agencies have tried very hard to convince the public that their efforts have gotten the problem under control," Thom Cmar, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, [told the Associated Press on] Thursday. "It's clear that there are still some (Asian carp) present in the waterway system and we need to be acting more quickly to permanently solve the problem.”
Bow fishermen, on the other hand, should be rejoicing. The big, jumping fish make great airborne targets that have brought tons of newfound attention and excitement to their sport -- not to mention a new state record catch on the Illinois River near Starved Rock earlier this month! If we don’t stop the carp from reaching Lake Michigan, we can all take solace in thinking about how fun it will be to shoot at nearly 60” flying fish off of Oak Street Beach!