It turns out the eggs that the USGS found in the Upper Mississippi River in March aren’t Asian carp.
On May 22, the USGS announced that their initial discovery of Asian carp eggs in the Upper Mississippi River just south of the Minnesota border was a false alarm.
Additional genetic testing revealed the eggs actually belonged to a type of crypnid – members of the carp family – that is native to North America. Apparently, their eggs looks strikingly similar to that of Asian carp.
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“What we have learned from this research is that non-Asian carp cyprinid eggs in the northern portions of the Upper Mississippi can closely resemble Asian carp eggs in size and shape,” Leon Carl, USGS midwest region director, said in a press release. “These findings underscore the importance of using genetic testing to confirm the results of visual identification.”
The news is a sigh of relief to the region’s wildlife agencies. The initial discovery signaled that Asian carp had moved farther north than they had ever been previously recorded.
“Invasive Asian carp could pose substantial environmental risks and economic impacts to the Upper Mississippi River if they become established,” said Carl in a statement last March.
A number of control efforts have been proposed to prevent Asian carp from migrating farther up the river.
One of those control efforts is a federal government proposal to close the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Damn near Minneapolis. That project has received wide support from state and federal lawmakers and wildlife agencies.
Another ongoing project involves experimental underwater speakers that repel Asian carp by blasting loud sounds – a tactic often used by teenagers to repel their parents from entering their rooms.
While the news of the mistakenly identified eggs is relieving, it doesn’t mean that the threat is nonexistent. Asian carp are spreading in waterways all over the country. If anything, the false alarm has helped the region prepare for the looming invaders.
What do you think should be done to prevent Asian carp from moving farther north? Share your ideas in the comments.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons