The issue of the Asian carp (which Dave Allan mentioned in class) is gaining a lot of national attention and illustrates many of the concepts we are learning about in 509 and 510. There is a lot of debate about the ecological impacts of the carp on the river and the potential impacts on the Great Lakes. It is quickly becoming an issue that will require serious consideration. Decision makers will be forced to weigh the costs and benefits of closing the river off to the Great Lakes – both in regards to industry and potential environmental damages. Below are 2 New York Times articles that outline the current status of the issue.
Single Asian Carp Found in Chicago-Area Fish Kill
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: December 4, 2009
Filed at 8:24 a.m. ET
LOCKPORT, Ill. (AP) — Wildlife officials discovered a single Asian carp Thursday in a canal leading to Lake Michigan, the nearest the destructive species has come to the Great Lakes, Illinois environmental officials said.
Environmentalists fear that if the silver or bighead species of giant Asian carp reach the lakes they could starve out native fish species and devastate a $7 billion-a-year fishing industry.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials found the 22-inch immature specimen among tens of thousands of dead fish identified in a fish kill operation in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, about 40 miles from Lake Michigan, said John Rogner, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
''Asian carp are indeed knocking on the door of the Great Lakes,'' Rogner said ''This is the closest to Lake Michigan that an actual Asian carp body has been found.''
Ten of thousands of other species of fish, from gizzard shad to drum, floated to the surface of the waterway Thursday after authorities dumped more than 2,000 gallons of toxins into a nearly six-mile stretch of the waterway the evening before.
The toxins were dumped while an electrical barrier normally used to prevent any Asian carp from the Great Lakes was turned off for maintenance. The kill operation — which will require the removal of an estimated 200,000 pounds of dead fish to a landfill — began Wednesday and was expected to last until Saturday.
The Asian carp — which can grow to 4 feet — were imported by Southern fish farms but escaped into the Mississippi River in large numbers during flooding in the 1990s and have been making their way northward ever since. No Asian carp have yet been found in Lake Michigan.
Concern about the silver or bighead species of Asian carp led to calls even before Thursday to close the waterway connecting the lakes to the Mississippi — an unprecedented step that could disrupt the movement of millions of tons of coal, grain and other goods.
The electrical barrier, installed in 2002 to repel fish with non-lethal jolts, had been thought to be the only thing standing between the carp and Lake Michigan. Officials said two weeks ago that DNA from Asian carp had been found between the barrier and a lock near the lake.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and five environmental groups have threatened to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to force it to temporarily shut three shipping locks near Chicago because of evidence the Asian carp may have breached the electrical barrier. The agency has said it would consider all options but would not close the locks without first studying the possible effects.
Fears Mount Over Giant Carp Reaching Great Lakes
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: December 2, 2009
Filed at 9:40 p.m. ET
CHICAGO (AP) — Fears that giant, voracious species of carp will get into the Great Lakes and wipe out other fish have led to rising demands that the government close the waterway connecting the lakes to the Mississippi River — an unprecedented step that could disrupt the movement of millions of tons of iron ore, coal, grain and other goods.
The dispute could become an epic clash of competing interests: commerce, environmentalists and fishermen.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and five environmental groups threatened Wednesday to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to force it to temporarily shut three shipping locks near Chicago because of evidence that Asian carp may have breached the electrical barrier that is supposed to hold them back from the lakes.
The environmental groups went further than the governor and said the Great Lakes and the Mississippi should be permanently separated to avert what Granholm called ''ecological disaster.''
Col. Vincent Quarles, commander of the Corps' Chicago district, said the agency is considering all options but would not close the locks without first studying the possible effects.
Environmentalists fear the fish, which consume up to 40 percent of their body weight daily in plankton, could starve out smaller and less aggressive competitors and cause the collapse of the $7 billion-a-year Great Lakes sport and commercial fishing industry.
The carp — which can grow to 4 feet long and 100 pounds and are known for leaping out of the water when boats are near — were imported by Southern fish farms but escaped into the Mississippi in large numbers during flooding in the 1990s and have been making their way northward ever since.
The Mississippi and the Great Lakes are connected by a complex, 250-mile network of rivers and canals engineered more than a century ago. It runs from Chicago, on the southern edge of Lake Michigan, to a spot on the Mississippi just north of St. Louis.
The American Waterways Operators, a trade association representing the tug and barge industry, said closing the locks would lead to higher shipping costs because commodities would have to be sent overland via truck or train across Illinois before being put back onto vessels.
''The impact is going to be large,'' said Lynn Muench, the group's senior vice president for regional advocacy in St. Louis. ''It could definitely impact day-to-day living.''
Tens of millions of tons of goods are moved annually along the shipping canals or through the locks that lead into Lake Michigan. Muench had no estimate of the value of the cargo, which includes salt, sugar, molasses, cement, scrap metal and petroleum.
In the continuing struggle to keep the fish out, Illinois environmental officials began dumping poison Wednesday night in a nearly six-mile stretch of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Lockport to kill off the carp while the electrical barrier is turned off for maintenance.
Chief Petty Officer Robert Lanier of the U.S. Coast Guard said workers began dumping a fish toxin called rotenone into the canal about 8 p.m. and would continue the poisoning until some time Thursday morning. Crews then planned to use large cranes with nets to scoop up an estimated 200,000 pounds of dead fish, which will be taken to a landfill.
The electrical barrier, installed in 2002 to repel fish with a non-lethal jolt, has long been the only thing standing between the carp and Lake Michigan, the gateway to the four other lakes. But officials said two weeks ago that DNA from Asian carp had been found between the barrier and one of the locks near the lake. No actual carp have been found in Lake Michigan.
Environmentalists and Granholm said the locks should be closed while the scope of the problem is established.
''This is an immediate threat to the Great Lakes, to our sport and commercial fishery, and as such it requires some emergency actions appropriate to the level of that threat,'' said Ken DeBeaussaert, director of Michigan's Office of the Great Lakes. ''Closing the locks to prevent the possible spread of the Asian carp into the Great Lakes is an appropriate response on an emergency basis.''
The environmental groups also said the government should find a way to permanently separate — through physical barriers or other means — the Great Lakes and Mississippi watersheds so the invasive species has no way of passing between the two.
Last fall, environmental groups offered several possible solutions, including erecting concrete walls, constructing more locks, even lifting barges over the locks.
The issue ''takes on a whole new urgency because of the Asian carp emergency,'' said Andy Buchsbaum of the National Wildlife Federation. ''We don't know where the carp are, and the risk of their being in the canals is too great.''
Some fishing enthusiasts doubt the government will consider closing the locks. Dan Thomas, president of the Elmhurst, Ill.-based Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council, said too many industries and too many jobs would probably be affected.
''Ideally it's the way to go, but many things that are ideal don't always come to fruition because there are too many other circumstances,'' he said. ''They can still be contained, but only with concerted effort and a sense of urgency to do what is necessary on a timely basis.''
Scientists say more than 180 invasive species have entered the Great Lakes, multiplying rapidly and feeding on native species or competing with them for food. Millions of dollars have been spent trying to control the zebra mussel and the round goby fish, which already have moved between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
If You Can't Beat it Eat It
NPR Ran a story documenting the potential for a carp fishery here in America.
The tremendous amount of fish that exist in the Southern US offer an easy catch. At the time of the article (2006) the fish were selling for 14 cents a pound but the large catch size made it a worthwhile investment. The fish were primarily sold to Asian American communities in America. The author notes that the word carp is off putting to many Americans. He suggests a name change that might make the fish more appealing. This is an interesting notion of the way that familiarity breeds consumption patterns. The Chilean Sea Bass used to be called the Patagonian Toothfish and once the name changed then consumption went up. It seems that one potential way to combat the Asian Carp is a redoctrination of the American public about what are good fish to eat.
In class we talked about how we can make the most of this invasive carp situation…
Here are some recipes with potential, courtesy of Bass on Hook:
Anyone up for hosting an SNRE Carp Feast?
1 pound ground carp
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 package taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
Sliced tomato (or salsa)
12 flour tortillas
Grated cheddar cheese
Before shredding the fish, remove mud vein, or redish-brown section of meat. Cook the shredded fish in the oil until its color changes. Add the taco seasoning and water. Cook until nearly dry, stirring occasionally. Heat flour tortillas in a dry fry-pan, turning to lightly brown on both sides. They should still be soft and pliable when warm. Fill each tortilla with fish mixture. Add grated cheese, taco sauce, lettuce, tomato chunks (or salsa) and top with sour cream.
Carp in Beer
2 pounds carp
2 12-ounce cans dark beer
1 medium onion
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 sprig parsley
¼ pound butter
½ cup gingerbread crumbs
Mince onion, add celery, bay leaf . thyme, parsley, beer and salt. Bring to a boil . Cut carp into pieces and place in the sauce. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes on low fire. Remove carp from sauce and thicken sauce with gingerbread crumbs. Strain sauce and stir in butter. The sauce must be creamy and hot; pour it over the carp.