The invasive species is threatening to destroy one of America’s most sacred treasures. The Asian carp problem is serious.
Foreigners are threatening to invade the Great Lakes. No immigration plan will help this situation, however, since the invaders are the kind with gills and fins.
Asian carp, the common name for several species of cyprinid fish, were originally brought to the United States in the 1970s to help catfish farmers rid their ponds of algae. When the Mississippi River flooded in 1993, some of these carp escaped into the river, where they had no natural predators and were easily able to establish a population.
The fish have more recently been found in northern parts of the Illinois River, just 40 miles southwest of Lake Michigan, where researchers fear Asian carp could devastate the entire ecosystem.
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Two species of Asian carp, bighead and silver carp, are of particular concern since they feed on plankton in competition with native species.
Because of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s concern that Asian carp may soon migrate into the Great Lakes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers placed an electric barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the only navigable aquatic link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River drainage basins.
Fisheries and restaurants are also beginning to do their part for the Asian carp problem by introducing them as a food selection.