Federal officials are citing DNA evidence indicating that Asian carp may have circumvented an electronic barrier keeping them from the Great Lakes.
The Army Corps of Engineers says that DNA from the invasive carp species has been found on the north side of the barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, indicating that perhaps the aggressive species has spread up into the waters. Jennifer Nalbone, director of Navigation and Invasive Species at Great Lakes United, said to The Detroit News:
“This means we have to take aggressive action now because an invasion is imminent. This is not the time for deliberation. This is the time for action.”
The carp, which can grow to be 4 feet long and over 100 lbs, escaped from Southern fish farms in the 1990s and have been moving upstream since. The fish have been known to knock boaters from boats, and have already wrought havoc in Mississippi after invading their waters. They have adversely affected both the environment and the economy, and as filter feeders, can quickly dominate a body of water and edge out the native fish.
The original barrier was erected in 2002 at a cost of $9m. Great Lakes water keeper organizations are requesting a state of emergency to battle the Asian carp and protect their waters.