A live Asian carp was found about nine miles from Lake Michigan, according to state and federal officials.
The discovery of an invasive silver carp beyond a waterway barrier in Chicago that is designed to keep the fish from entering Lake Michigan is causing alarm among advocates for the Great Lakes.
The carp was caught nine miles from Lake Michigan by a fisherman below the T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam, according to an Associated Press article in the Chicago Tribune.
The silver carp is perhaps the most notorious of four Asian carp that officials are trying to keep from entering the Great Lakes. It’s the one that jumps out of the water and has been frequently photographed above the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, said Jeff Reutter, former director of Ohio State University’s Sea Grant office at Stone Lab on Put-in-Bay in Lake Erie.
“Anytime you find one beyond the barrier it’s not a good sign,” Reutter said, but one fish does not mean there’s a spawning population.
A bighead carp was found beyond the barrier in Lake Calumet in 2010, according to the Associated Press.
The good thing that came from the silver carp’s discovery is that it automatically calls for an intense two-week sampling of the waterway to see if more of this fish can be found, Reutter said.
The discovery of the silver carp has increased the concerns of several members of Congress from the Great Lakes region.
“The fishing industry in the Great Lakes is a $7-billion-a-year economic engine and it would be severely threatened if Asian Carp are allowed into the Great Lakes.,” stated Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio in a written release. “The Administration should release its proposed plan they have drafted so there is no delay in protecting the Great Lakes from Asian Carp.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has studied ways to make the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on Des Plaines River less susceptible to a breach by invasive species, but did not release its findings as scheduled in February.
The co-chairs of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Great Lakes Task Force, which includes Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Democrat from Toledo, Rep. David Joyce, a Republican from Russell Township, and several others from nearby states, also called for release of the study.
“This news is deeply troubling and the threat of Asian carp has long been a concern of this Task Force and experts across the Great Lakes,” states the co-chairs in a written statement. “This is further evidence that action must be taken to protect our Great Lakes from this grievous threat.”
Portman also used the carp’s discovery to renew a call for full funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. President Donald Trump has eliminated the $300 million allocated last year for the initiative from his proposed budget.