Attack of the Asian Carp – Literally – and with Video.

19 May 2011

Will the Asian carp scare turn out to be another Y2K, Mad Cow Disease or Bird/Swine Flu?  Do you know that President Obama named a so-called “Asian carp Czar”?  After watching the videos below (and there are tons of others like it on YouTube), you may start to understand why it is a serious issue. In addition to their negative ecological impact, Silver carp (a variety of Asian carp) are startled by boat motors causing them to jump up to 10 feet out of the water. According to the EPA, “reported injuries include cuts from fins, black eyes, broken bones, back injuries, and concussions.”

The invasive species (originally from Asia – obviously) are eating machines and quickly grow to between 3-4 feet long and up to 100 pounds. Aside from the fact that one of these hundred pounders could unexpectedly jump into your boat, many experts believe that the fish will seriously disrupt the Great Lakes ecosystem.  These carp feed on vegetation like locusts — potentially starving out trout and other native fish vital to Michigan’s fishing industry. The species have spread through much of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and some have reached waters not far from Lake Michigan in the Chicago area.

My In-laws have a house on Mullett Lake and we go up a couple times every summer. Since I particularly enjoy taking out their Jet Ski on the lake, I decided to Googled “Asian Carp Jet Ski” — and found this article. According to the article, a man riding his Jet Ski in the Illinois River “ran into the large, leaping fish that knocked him from the Jet Ski.”  I was hoping that a personal water craft would not scare the carp like a boat motor, but if the preventive efforts fail to keep them out of the Great Lakes, it appears that I’m going to have to deal with flying fish (Mullett is connected to Lake Huron via the Inland Waterway). Then again, it could be worse, at least I don’t water-ski anymore.



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