Asian carp near Great Lakes
Another foreign species heads for Lake
By MATT FURST
Capital News Service
LANSING -- The Great Lakes may soon have a new uninvited
Asian carp are steadily approaching the Great Lakes as
they swim up the Mississippi River, said Dave Ladd, director
of the state Office of the Great Lakes.
"These fish are only 30 miles away from our borders and
they're headed our way," Ladd said. "Their impact could
The Asian carp eat zooplankton, which all fish consume
in their early stages of life, so they have the potential
to impact every species of fish in the Great Lakes, Ladd
said. He said that means fish in the lakes will have a
new competitor that could possibly displace them.
Ladd said that the carp grow to weigh more than 100 pounds
and can jump up to 8 feet out of the water. There are
also several species of Asian carp. The two types migrating
toward the Great Lakes are the bighead and silver carp.
The carp don't only pose a physical threat to other fish,
though, he said. A U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service worker
was injured by one of these carp when it leapt out of
the water and hit him, Ladd said.
"Imagine riding a Jet Ski and having one of these fish
jump out at you," Ladd said.
State Sen. William Van Regenmorter, R-Hudsonville, expressed
his concern for the possible invasion. He said that foreign
species should be prevented from entering the Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes are precious bodies of fresh water and
there needs to be a way to protect them from invaders,
Van Regenmorter said.
Fortunately, some precautions have been put in place.
An electric barrier placed in the Chicago Sanitary and
Ship Canal may stop the carp from entering Lake Michigan,
"The weirs have worked pretty well in deterring the advancement
of sea lampreys in the past," said Jason Dinsmore, Michigan
United Conservation Clubs resource policy assistant.
Dinsmore did agree with Ladd, though.
"The invasion of the carp could be devastating," said
The carp could already be in the Great Lakes, though,
said Todd Grischke, state Department of Natural Resources
"The weirs do work pretty well, but the fish can be transported
in many different ways," Grischke said. "Eggs can even
be transported by birds and turtles."
Grischke said that preventing the carp from entering
the Great Lakes looks doubtful.