The Asian carp are coming!

In yesterday’s post (January 3, 2010), my tongue-in-cheek list of New Year’s resolutions included a solid commitment to angle for Asian carp in the Great Lakes. The tongue-out-of-cheek fact is that there are–most likely–very few Asian carp in the Great Lakes–for now. That’s a good thing. If they manage to enter Lake Michigan in large numbers, they could devastate the Great Lakes’s ecosystem and destroy the region’s fishing industry.

I believe that this is a dramatization.

A highly prolific family of species with insatiable appetites and vacuum-cleaner-like eating systems, the giant carp were imported to the South in the 1970’s to clean up out-of-control pond algae, and have become a nightmarish infestation themselves. Somehow—some say because of the huge floods a couple of decades ago—they were able to enter the Mississippi River system, which they’ve found very hospitable indeed. So much so that they have completely dominated large stretches of the Mississippi and its tributaries by propagating like flies and hoovering up all of the available food, starving out natives species.

They’ve made their way north at a fifty-mile per year pace and now are very, very close to Lake Michigan.

I’ll let Great Lakes advocate and legal expert Noah Hall supply the details about why this is happening (Surprise–the EPA screwed up!)  and the legal moves being taken to block the gargantuan gobblers’ ingress to Lake Michigan. Also a good Scientific American article here and one from the NY Times here. Below is Part 1 of a two-part YouTube video about the situation.


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