June 20, 2008

Asian Carp Still Not in Lake Michigan

Two invasive Asian carp species haven't traveled any closer to the susceptible Lake Michigan, an annual survey by several U.S. federal agencies indicates

Scientists with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spotted two bighead carp and six silver carp about 30 river miles from an electric fish barrier near Romeoville, Ill., erected to keep Asian carp from reaching the lake, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The agencies said they monitor the advance of the piggish invasive species each year by traveling the rivers and electrofishing, temporarily stunning the fish so they rise to the water's surface, the scientists said.

Brought to the United States to help control algae blooms at fish farms, bighead and silver carp can consume up to 20 percent of their weight in microscopic plankton per day, scientists said. If they reach Lake Michigan, their voracious appetites could push the lake's native species to extinction.