Asian Carp

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About the Asian Carp

The Asian Carp is a species of fish that hails from different parts of Asia. This fish is an invasive species to North America. There are several different types of the fish, but they are typically lumped together as Asian Carp. The Asian Carp is common to find on the dinner plate in many Asian countries. This species of fish is low in mercury due to the fact that they do not eat other fish. Because they don't consume other species of fish, they consume plants, mussels, and plankton. Asian Carp are able to eat 20-40% of their body weight daily. The average carp weighs around 50 lbs, while they are able to get up to nearly 110 lbs. A key characteristic of Asian Carp is their ability to jump high out of the water. This can be dangerous as they are able to injure boaters as they are known to be big fish. Even more importantly, their ability to jump high makes it difficult to prevent the fish from spreading, as they are able to jump over low dams and barriers.[1]

History in America

The Asian Carp is an invasive species in America; it is not naturally from here. The common carp was first introduced in the early 1800s as many Europeans were surprised that there were no carp in America.[2] Southern farmers began importing Asian Carp from China in the 1970s. Currently,the most prevalent Asian Carp in America is the Bighead and Silver Carp. Unlike in Asia, these kinds of carp are not a fish that can generally be found for dinner. The Asian Carp was introduced in the USA in order to control weeds and parasites in agriculture, but the fish has gotten out of control. [3]Recently, the Asian Carp has been out-competing native species in Mississippi River. Now, this species is on a crash course for the Lake Michigan, which has many worried.[4]

Threat to the Great Lakes

One of the biggest issues facing the Great Lakes area is making sure to prevent the Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes system. If the Asian Carp would reach the Great Lakes, it could be devastating. There would not be a threat of the Asian Carp being a predator to the fish that are already found in the Great Lakes since Asian Carp do not consume other fish. Rather, the main concern would be competition for food sources. Asian Carp consume large amounts of food that other fish species depend on for survival. Competition over these food sources would make it extremely difficult for native fish species to survive. Due to the fact that the Asian Carp breed and multiply at quick rates, their population would skyrocket.[5]This would make it nearly impossible to control the carp. Since there is not much of a market for the Asian Carp in the United States, and the Great Lake states (i.e. Wisconsin) depend on fishing in their Great Lakes, it could be demoralizing for their economies.[6]

Prevention

Prevention to keep the Asian Carp is a top priority. Currently, there are electric barriers set up along the Chicago River in order to deter Asian Carp away from Lake Michigan. However, there has recently been a silver carp discovered to be 9 miles away from Lake Michigan, past the electric barrier. This discovery has put fear and urgency in many who rely on the Great Lakes. Ohio GOP Senator, Rob Portman, said, "The fishing industry in the Great Lakes is a $7 billion a year economic engine and it would be severely threatened if Asian Carp are allowed into the Great Lakes."[7] Outrage and urgency are evident from many political leaders like Portman. There has been a push for the US Army Corps of Engineers to release a study that they have been conducting. Information in this survey could lead to more improved ways to keep the carp out of the Great Lake system, but action needs to happen swiftly. [8]

Political Interaction

The Asian Carp issue has not gone unspoken within politics. A big issue that political parties are worried about is that the Army Corps of Engineers' survey that they are conducting. There is a proposal of using nearly $200 million dollars of federal money to build a barrier to keep the fish from entering Lake Michigan. This barrier is said to be able to be built by 2025. However, the Trump Administration is blocking the findings of the Army Corps' survey for being release. This survey has been completed for some time now. The Trump Administration is known for its lack of support for environmental issues. It is vital that the information from the survey is released, so that steps to keeping the carp out of the lake can be taken. There have been many politicians pushing for the Trump Administration to do something. Senator Debbie Stabenow tweeted, "The Trump Admin must immediately release the study they have been blocking so we can permanently stop the Asian carp".[9]This is just one of many examples of how politicians are growing tired of the lack of action from the top of the government.

References

  1. "Asian Carp Overview". National Park Service. https://www.nps.gov/miss/learn/nature/ascarpover.htm. (December 2017).
  2. "History of Common Carp in North America". National Parks Service. https://www.nps.gov/miss/learn/nature/carphist.htm. (December 2017).
  3. Scheer, Roddy. "Invasion USA: Asian Carp Invaders Have Taken the Mississippi, Are the Great Lakes Next?". Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/asian-carp-woes/ (December 2017).
  4. Okeson, Sarah. "Asian Carp Could Decimate the Great Lakes, and Time is Running Out". Salon. https://www.salon.com/2017/08/06/asian-carp-could-decimate-the-great-lakes-and-time-is-running-out/. (November 2017).
  5. "Asian Carp Threat". Alliance for the Great Lakes. https://greatlakes.org/2017/08/asian-carp-threat/. (November 2017).
  6. Beverstock, Jeremie. "An Assessment of the Invasive Asian Carp Threat on The Great Lakes". Environmental ScienceBites. https://osu.pb.unizin.org/sciencebites/chapter/an-assessment-of-the-invasive-asian-carp-threat-on-the-great-lakes/. (November 2017).
  7. Dwyer, Colin. "Cause For Serious Concern: Invasive Carp Caught 9 Miles From Great Lakes". NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/23/534105477/invasive-carp-caught-9-miles-from-great-lakes-in-cause-for-serious-concern. (November 2017).
  8. Eaton, Sabrina. "Army Corps Study on Keeping Asian Carp from Great Lakes Suggests $275 Million Noise System, Stunning Barrier". Cleveland. http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2017/08/asian_carp_study_released.html. (November 2017).
  9. Dwyer, Colin. "Cause For Serious Concern: Invasive Carp Caught 9 Miles From Great Lakes". NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/23/534105477/invasive-carp-caught-9-miles-from-great-lakes-in-cause-for-serious-concern. (November 2017).


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