One Asian carp found in canal after fish kill

December 7, 2009 9:21:20 AM PST
Only one Asian carp was discovered in a shipping canal leading to Lake Michigan on Thursday night, but that is enough to worry environmental officials.

The carp was found in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal - just above the Lockport lock and dam.

"I saw it and we netted it and brought it on board and I passed it up to the chain of command," said Sam Finney, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"It was nothing unexpected. If you look at the number of fish that was collected, it's no surprise that we found one Asian carp among many fish that were poured from the canal today," said Col. Vincent Quarles, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Scientists have been testing and found that the carp must have gotten in through this portion of the canal. The Army Corp of Engineers has an electronic barrier designed to keep the Asian carp from getting beyond this point but because they had to deactivate it for routine maintenance, they had to poison all of the fish in a nearly six-mile stretch of water.

"Collecting the dead fish today, they found the first and only Asian carp so far. We have now confirmed, with the body, what the E.D.N.A. Evidence has suggested, that carp is indeed knocking on the door of the Great Lakes," said John Rogner, Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources.

The big concern for environmentalists is that these carp find their way into the lake, possibly destroying the ecosystem for the entire Great Lakes system. The Asian carp they found here is relatively small but they can grow up to three or four feet and up to 100 pounds. And they monopolize all of the food depriving and starving many ear species in the lake.

"You have a great sport fishery here in the Great Lakes, so there's a lot at stake," said John Rogner, Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources.


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