Asian carp are threatening to enter the Great Lakes. If the carp get into the Lakes they can potentially destroy a $7 billion fishing industry.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a plan to upgrade Lake Michigan’s defenses against the infestation. The only catch, it’s going to cost $275 million to upgrade.
The cause of alarm and justification for this expense? NPR reports that a silver carp was caught 9 miles from Lake Michigan in the Illinois Waterway. At that distance, if Asian Carp can establish themselves they can cause significant damage to ecosystem. Being filter feeders cable of eating 5 to 20 percent of their body weight in plankton they could easily displace the Alewife population and I have a hard enough time catching Kings as it is.
According to NPR, the Corps of Engineers will focus its efforts to upgrade the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River in Joliet, Illinois. The Brandon Road Lock is considered a bottle neck and an easily defensible location to stop the carp. The River is a connecting body of water between the Great Lakes and the Mississsippi River. The location does need to have some improved defenses.
Some of the measures that listed in the 488-page report include a sound system to create noise to deter fish. Downstream an electric barrier to stun and shock fish in addition to the existing barrier system. Water jets to push the stunned fish away would also work in tangent with the barrier. All of these changes would make a minimum impact on existing boat and business traffic while making what sounds like a great place to fish for catfish.
Public comments can be made on the report until September 21 here.