urged to join U.S. battle against Great Lakes carp invasion
Globe and Mail
OTTAWA -- Canada is being urged to join the United States
in the fight against alien fish.
A U.S.-Canada commission on shared waterways is calling
on both governments to help avert the "serious threat"
to boundary waters posed by North America's latest invasive
species, the Asian carp.
The International Joint Commission, which oversees shared
U.S. and Canadian waters, warns that the Asian carp could
destroy the Great Lakes ecosystem.
"We clearly have deep concerns about the Asian carp
because it's such a voracious eater and breeds like a
rabbit," U.S. chairman Dennis Schornack said in Ottawa
"We don't want to turn the Great Lakes into a carp
The fish, which can grow to a metre long and weigh as
much as 50 kilograms, steal food from the bottom of the
food chain and deprive native species of nutrition.
So far, at least three Asian carp have been found in
the Great Lakes, two on the U.S. side of Lake Erie and
one on the Canadian side.
Asian carp were imported to the United States in 1972
by an Arkansas catfish farmer. They became popular in
the South and either escaped or were introduced into streams
in the Missouri and Mississippi river systems.
Herb Gray, Canadian chairman of the commission, said
both countries "have to be vigilant" against an
Asian carp invasion.
"It will lead to destruction of a native species,"
he said. "We believe that action should be taken now,
and the necessary money should be spent to stop it."
In its most recent report, the commission recommended
"more aggressive steps to end the invasion of alien
species." Among its suggestions: mandatory regulations
for ships' ballast-water management, research and a second
electronic barrier to keep Asian carp from getting into
One such barrier has been set up in an Illinois canal
linking the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan. It forces
fish to retreat by emitting a small electric shock. Canada
was not asked to contribute funds to maintaining the electronic
barrier, which costs about $700,000 (U.S.) a year.
The joint commission wants the two governments to install
a second electrical barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and