The Great Lakes is threatened to be overrun by Asian Carp species that could ruin native fish and affect the fishing industry in the region.
Four grass carp fish were found by a fisherman at the Sandusky River, Ohio in 2012. These fish underwent bone examination by the scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Bowling Green State University. Their otoliths or fish skulls which offer traces of where the fish resided were compared with those from farms. The scientists were able to prove that they were indeed hatched and thrived in the lake instead of being brought in.
According to USGS fisheries biologist and researcher Duane Chapman, all types of Asian Carp fish have the same environment needed for their successful reproduction which means that there may be more of them near the Great Lake. This finding is alarming because if these fish spread and gain significant population in the lakes it will destabilize the aquatic ecosystem and affect region's $7-billion industry.
"It's bad news. It would have been a lot easier to control these fish if they'd been limited in the number of places where they could spawn. This makes our job harder. It doesn't make it impossible, but it makes it harder," said Chapman to USA Today.
The Asian Carp species were transported decades ago from Asia to control the growth of algae in the sewage system. Unfortunately, they escaped and spread into the regions' rivers and lakes.
So far, the U.S government has already spent almost $200 million to protect the lakes particularly through electric barriers among others. Critics are not satisfied with these measures and strongly suggest lying down physical barriers between the carp-infested Mississippi River from the other lakes.
In the mean time, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers is planning to present in the upcoming months a more permanent and long-term solution on Asian carp problem.