Invasive Asian Carp
Warm summer days mean lots of people head out to the Great Lakes to go boating and fishing. While you’re on the water, it is important to keep an eye out for silver and bighead carp, which are invasive fish that pose a threat to native Great Lakes species and even boaters. These fish were introduced to the United States in the 1970s to improve water quality in water treatment systems and aquaculture ponds, as well as to increase harvests from catfish ponds. Experts think the carp made their way to the Mississippi River when these ponds flooded. From there, the fish have entered the Great Lakes system through the Chicago Canal, which connects the Mississippi to Lake Michigan, and also through accidental release by fishers.
Viewer Tip: If you are boating, be careful – these carp jump out of the water when disturbed by boat motors and can cause injury to boaters. If you are fishing, young bighead or silver carp can be easily mistaken for minnows or shad and accidentally released back into the water. Pay attention to the fish you are releasing back into the water to help slow the spread of these species. For details on what each fish looks like and their characteristics, visit the Michigan Seat Grant website at www.miseagrant.umich.edu/ais/asian-carp.html.
(Source: Michigan Sea Grant. “Asian Carp Overview.” http://www.miseagrant.umich.edu/ais/asian-carp.html)