Asian carp found a leap away from Lake MichiganOne Bighead Asian carp has been found in Lake Calumet, the first that has been discovered above the Electric Barrier System designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent any Asian carp from swimming into the Great Lakes.
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
CHICAGO—JUNE 23, 2010—One Bighead Asian carp has been found in Lake Calumet, the first that has been discovered above the Electric Barrier System designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent any Asian carp from swimming into the Great Lakes.
The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC) made the announcement of the finding, and will plan to first follow it with more sampling, and then with efforts including netting and electrofishing in the next several weeks, with the goal of reducing the number of Asian carp below the electric barriers.
The 34.6-inch long, 19.6-pound Bighead carp was discovered about six miles between Lake Michigan and the T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam, during regular samplings taken by an Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)-contracted commercial fisherman. Within the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS), this was just the second Asian carp discovered.
The IDNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not begin intensive sampling of the CAWS until Feb. 17, and the sampling that has taken place since then had not resulted in the announcement of the detection of any Bighead carp or of any Silver carp until today.
The Silver and Bighead Asian carp are the two most aggressive types of Asian carp, and thus cause the most concern. A common weight for either of them is 60 pounds, and they can consume up to half of their body weight every day. If they established sustainable populations in the Great Lakes, they could devastate these ecosystems.
In addition to these potential calamities, Asian carp in the Mississippi and Illinois rivers have physically injured multiple boaters by leaping four feet out of the water when disturbed, and smacking boaters in the face, or knocking them out of their vessels.
“We commend the IDNR for their ongoing vigilance in catching this fish, and identifying evidence that the Asian carp has now been above the barrier. The Great Lakes Boating Federation advises the less-frequent use of the Chicago-area locks,” says Ned Dikmen, chairman of the Great Lakes Boating Federation, advocacy voice to boaters on the Great Lakes.