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Over 2.5 Million Pounds Of Asian Carp Have Been Removed From Area Waterways

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 24, 2014 3:30PM

Four years ago the Illinois Department of Natural Resources hired commercial fishermen to patrol local waterways where Asian carp are breeding like crazy and threatening to reach Lake Michigan, which could create an invasive species disaster of epic proportions.

WGN-TV’s Nancy Loo spent a day with some of these fishermen in their Sisyphean attempts to rid the rivers and canals of Asian Carp and discovered how daunting the task has become. Commercial fishermen have caught and removed over 2.5 million pounds of Asian carp since they were hired by DNR. Commercial fishing is not allowed between Starved Rock and Chicago but this is a very special exception. Kevin Iron, the Asian carp expert at DNR, told Loo these fishermen are the front line soldiers between the carp and Lake Michigan.

They’ve got the crews, they’ve got the gear. But, most importantly, they’ve got the knowledge and expertist [sic]. They know how to catch em. And then the river goes up or down, they know how to shift tactics.”

On the day Loo shadowed the fishermen, they hauled in 15,000 pounds of Asian carp, which one fisherman said is less than when they began the project. The carp are delivered to an area fishmonger which uses them to produce liquid fertilizer. Fisherman Gary Shaw said this approach seems to be the only one that has worked to keep Asian carp from Lake Michigan, because of their rapid rate of reproduction.

“I think it’s gonna have to continue or they will eventually get in the lake. I don’t think there’s any way of stopping ‘em other than what we’re doing.