long fishhook water flea, a native of Eastern European
waters, has been found in Ohio's side of Lake Erie.
biologists confirmed the presence of the fishhook water
flea this week in samples collected off Fairport Harbor.
"We have no idea
what impact this will have on Lake Erie," said Gary Isbell,
who heads the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' fisheries
management program. "It may be years before we understand
what it means to the ecosystem."
Isbell said the
fear is that the fishhook water flea will disrupt the
food chain for the lake's sport fish such as perch, walleye
and bass because it feeds on the tiny animals that newborn
fish need to survive.
appeared in the Great Lakes in Lake Ontario in 1998, apparently
after hitching a ride in a freighter's ballast water.
Canadian biologists found it on their side of Lake Erie
asked anglers to take precautions to keep the fishhook
water flea from moving from Lake Erie into inland lakes.
They urged anglers
to thoroughly clean fishing tackle, nets and boats; drain
water from boat motors, live wells and bilges; and empty
tackle buckets on land upon leaving the water.
Bob Taft expressed concern this week in letters to other
Great Lakes governors and federal officials about another
Lake Erie invader: the Asian carp.
Taft urged "increased
attention, action and funding" to prevent the carp and
other non-native species from moving into the Great Lakes.
One species can grow up to 100 pounds. He endorsed the
use of an electronic barrier in the Chicago Ship and Sanitary
Canal to prevent the Asian carp from moving into Lake
realizing, if carp establishes itself in Lake Michigan,
it will be difficult to deal with," Isbell said. "These
things have the potential to wreak extreme biological
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