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Scientists fear leaping carp to invade US Great Lakes
Reuters on Yahoo ^ | 2/20/06 | Andrew Stern

Posted on 02/20/2006 11:05:14 PM PST by NormsRevenge

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Fish that leap into passing boats may be a fisherman's fantasy, but scientists fear that hyperactive Asian carp will reach the U.S. Great Lakes, devour the base of the food chain and spoil drinking water for 40 million people.

In less than a decade since escaping southern U.S. fish farms, the hardy and voracious carp have come to dominate sections of the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

"It is a crisis," said Phil Moy of the University of Wisconsin and the government-affiliated water protection group Sea Grant. "We've seen some pretty significant adverse invaders in the Great Lakes. Right now, it's the carp, but what's around the corner?"

The leaping fish are silver carp that jump haphazardly when alarmed by passing boats and have injured boaters, some of whom have taken up garbage can lids as shields.

The only barriers between dense populations of silver and bighead carp -- two closely related Asian carp species -- and the world's largest collective body of fresh water are a few miles (kms) of waterway and a little-tested underwater electrical field spanning a canal near Chicago.

The idea of adding a few more varieties of fish to the Great Lakes -- which have been abused by polluters, overfished, invaded by scores of unwanted species and repopulated with nonnative fish to eat invaders and please anglers -- would not appear catastrophic in light of the range of global environmental crises.

But scientists believe the carp, which escaped lagoons in Arkansas during late 1990s flooding, could set off an ecological collapse in the lakes, ruining the primarily recreational $5 billion fishery and posing a threat to water quality for millions of people.

"With invasive pest species, we can't turn back the clock, the lakes will be altered for good," said Cameron Davis of the group Alliance for the Great Lakes. "Not only do invasive species unravel the food web they also fool public perception: The lakes look cleaner because the food has been stripped out."

Carp that can grow to 100 pounds (45 kg) filter huge amounts of water, consuming 40 percent of their body weight per day in microscopic plant and animal life that form the foundation of the aquatic food chain. The loss of this food relied on by crayfish and smaller fish such as alewifes, sculpins and perch would in turn eliminate the prey for popular game fish such as salmon, trout and bass.

DEADLY ALGAE

Lake water would become less cloudy, allowing sunlight to penetrate to greater depths and enhancing algae growth, some of which emit toxins that can cause itchiness, illness and even death. Varieties of toxic blue-green algae already hold an ecological advantage because they are avoided by the zebra mussel, another prolific Great Lakes invader that filters out plankton.

Lake Saint Clair, which connects Lakes Erie and Huron, is sometimes choked with algae that tangles up boat props and swimmers, and algae blooms have fouled Green Bay off Lake Michigan.

A few weeks each summer, bacteria that consume rotting algae lend a swampy taste to treated lake water. Rare bacteria outbreaks have fouled the lakes and made people sick, though advanced treatment systems have proven largely effective.

The dire consequences from the carp's arrival may serve another purpose: publicizing the global issue of invasive species that cost hundreds of billions of dollars to fight.

Public outrage that followed the Cuyahoga River catching fire in Cleveland in 1969 spurred passage of the U.S. Clean Water Act.

Many ecologists have concluded the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds need to be separated permanently.

The temporary electric barrier -- a $9 million replacement is under construction -- guards a man-made channel that at the turn of the last century was dug to link the lakes and the Mississippi and to reverse the flow of the Chicago River, sending Chicago's sewage inland instead of out into the lake where it fouled the city's water supply.

"The electric barrier is crude but it's the best thing we have now," said ecologist David Lodge of Notre Dame University. "The irony is the barrier was first proposed to keep round gobies (another fish invader in the Great Lakes) from colonizing the Mississippi River watershed, but by the time the barrier was built they had already passed it. Now the motivation is to keep the carp from coming from the other direction."

Because many harmful invaders, though not the carp, arrived in ballast water dumped in Great Lakes ports by ocean vessels, one audacious proposal is to bar ocean vessels from the lakes.

But such a drastic approach has drawn howls of protest from shipping interests, who instead are pursuing a foolproof method of killing the creatures that hitchhike in ballast water.

International cargo, which is mostly imported steel and exported grain, carried by ocean-going vessels represents one-quarter of the 200 million tonnes shipped on the Great Lakes yearly, but as much as two-thirds of its value.

A new species arrives in the lakes about every nine months. A few are introduced by fisherman dumping bait or aquarium owners setting animals loose. Illinois enacted a ban on transporting live carp out of fear of a Buddhist tradition that calls for setting one fish free for each one eaten.

Lake watchers had a scare in 2004 when a Chicago fisherman caught a Northern snakehead, but no other examples have turned up of the voracious fish that can wriggle across land.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: carp; ecoping; greatlakes; invade; leaping; scientists

An undated handout image of a bigheaded carp. Fish that leap into passing boats may be a fisherman's fantasy, but scientists fear that hyperactive Asian carp will reach the U.S. Great Lakes, devour the base of the food chain, and spoil drinking water for 40 million people. REUTERS/Handout


1 posted on 02/20/2006 11:05:15 PM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

offer a bounty on em


2 posted on 02/20/2006 11:12:53 PM PST by Texas_Jarhead
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To: SJackson

ping


3 posted on 02/20/2006 11:16:14 PM PST by lesser_satan
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To: NormsRevenge
scientists fear that hyperactive Asian carp will reach the U.S. Great Lakes, devour the base of the food chain and spoil drinking water for 40 million people.

Surely it is this crisis that will destroy us all.

I had road rage in the pool, and my brother had El Nino. I almost picked shark attacks.

Any losers out there still holding on to their Y2K tickets?

4 posted on 02/20/2006 11:20:55 PM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: NormsRevenge

More illegal immigrants...fish this time....


5 posted on 02/20/2006 11:23:00 PM PST by ARCADIA (Abuse of power comes as no surprise)
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To: NormsRevenge; GreenFreeper; girlangler

ping - Thought this might interest you


6 posted on 02/20/2006 11:31:03 PM PST by proud_yank (Liberalism - The 'Culture of Ignorance'.)
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To: ARCADIA

Hopefully they'll vote dem.


7 posted on 02/20/2006 11:31:23 PM PST by proud_yank (Liberalism - The 'Culture of Ignorance'.)
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To: NormsRevenge
Article is a good example of writing by a reporter who is illiterate in science and engineering. It goes straight into catastrophic hysteria.

I doubt that the original handout was so emotionally charge. Such writing avoids a clear statement of the problem, so you have to accept on faith the proposed solution, which is give lots of money to pseudo-scientists claiming to be ecologists.

(In my lifetime the once exciting and exacting study of ecological systems has degenerated to pseudo-science.)

8 posted on 02/20/2006 11:31:47 PM PST by JohnCliftn (In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will.)
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To: ARCADIA

This isn't funny. Kids are cutting the heck out of their feet(needing stitches) on our beaches(which used to be just sand) here in michigan on those damned zebra mussles. These A-holes are going to ruin our water. They shouldn't let ANYONE bring foreign crap into our country if they can't keep control of it!


9 posted on 02/20/2006 11:36:21 PM PST by annelizly
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To: NormsRevenge
scientists fear
devour ... and spoil
"It is a crisis,"
global environmental crises
could set off an ecological collapse
enhancing algae growth, some of which emit toxins that can cause itchiness, illness and even death.
bar ocean vessels from the lakes

OMG - we are all gonna die!

The dire consequences from the carp's arrival may serve another purpose: publicizing the global issue of invasive species that cost hundreds of billions of dollars to fight.

Public outrage that followed the Cuyahoga River catching fire in Cleveland in 1969 spurred passage of the U.S. Clean Water Act.

Oh, never mind....it is just more environazi fear mongering.

10 posted on 02/20/2006 11:37:26 PM PST by Just A Nobody (NEVER AGAIN - Support our troops. I *LOVE* my attitude problem! Beware the Enemedia.)
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To: Texas_Jarhead

Cheney just has to go on a week long trip with his 28.


11 posted on 02/20/2006 11:39:08 PM PST by Westlander (Unleash the Neutron Bomb)
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To: NormsRevenge

What does the Hildabest's picture have to do with the story?


12 posted on 02/20/2006 11:40:38 PM PST by Westlander (Unleash the Neutron Bomb)
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To: NormsRevenge
"The (Asian) leaping fish are silver carp that jump haphazardly when alarmed by passing boats and have injured boaters,"

Sheesh, even their fish can't drive.

13 posted on 02/20/2006 11:59:46 PM PST by TheCrusader ("The frenzy of the mohammedans has devastated the Churches of God" Pope Urban II ~ 1097A.D.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Perhaps Global Warming will be the death of these fish?!


14 posted on 02/21/2006 1:11:03 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Peace Begins in the Womb)
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To: Texas_Jarhead
" offer a bounty on em "

Just start a rumor that the innards of this fish are an aphrodesiac and you wont be able to find one of these critters in a couple of months!

15 posted on 02/21/2006 1:25:52 AM PST by Kakaze (I'm now a single issue voter.....exterminate Al Quaida)
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To: NormsRevenge
Fish that leap into passing boats may be a fisherman's fantasy

Hey wait a minute, we could start a new fishing contest. No rod and reel just a boat shaped like a catchers mitt.
16 posted on 02/21/2006 1:35:30 AM PST by carumba (The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made. Groucho)
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To: NormsRevenge

I saw a program about these carp yesterday. These fish appear unnatural when you see literally thousands of them flying out of the water every time a boat passes.

They are the definition of an invasive species, and will likely not be stoppable by man.


17 posted on 02/21/2006 2:36:00 AM PST by mmercier (thrown in the mix and tossed out of bars)
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To: NormsRevenge

those fish are fun to after, good fight


18 posted on 02/21/2006 2:37:09 AM PST by MetalHeadConservative35 (Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. (i fear the greeks even when they bring gifts))
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To: NormsRevenge
The water clears of algae because the fish eat it, which causes ....algae bloom? Huh?

Are they edible?

Feed the homeless. Give 'em a boat. No need to teach 'em to fish. No excuses.

"Why should we have to eat CARP!"

"It's DEGRADING!"

"Closure!"

19 posted on 02/21/2006 2:57:50 AM PST by dasboot
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To: NormsRevenge
Norm ... you just know how to start a day ...
This article is polluted with gags ... too many to comment on ... but these seemed to go together ... to me ...

.

"But scientists believe the carp, which escaped lagoons in Arkansas during late 1990s flooding, could set off an ecological collapse in the lakes, ruining the primarily recreational $5 billion fishery and posing a threat to water quality for millions of people.

and

"The leaping fish are silver carp that jump haphazardly when alarmed by passing boats and have injured boaters, some of whom have taken up garbage can lids as shields."

.

Since the late '90's, those carp from Arkansas have been jumping around and threatening and violating the somewhat still, calm waters of America.
And the sheilds ?

Our own Viking Kitties come to mind.

20 posted on 02/21/2006 3:24:15 AM PST by knarf (A place where anyone can learn anything ... especially that which promotes clear thinking.)
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To: NormsRevenge; All

FYI..This past Sunday's PBS "Nature" had a show which showed this...the scientists studying the fish have determined that the react to a very slight electric current by jumping..that's how they study the fish population..they showed them hitting the switch, then the lake literaly exploded with these carp leaping into the air..check your local PBS station..they usually rerun it during the week..


21 posted on 02/21/2006 3:27:42 AM PST by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to propagate her gene pool. Any volunteers?)
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To: NormsRevenge
"It is a crisis," said Phil Moy...

Oh, carp, carp, carp. Sheesh!

22 posted on 02/21/2006 3:38:45 AM PST by LRS
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To: Texas_Jarhead
offer a bounty on em

Nah. Just have a report issued that eating this things:
Cures 17 cancers
Causes immediate weight loss of 5 lbs a week
Is better than Viagra & Cialis combined
Makes men's hair grow even if bald

Little buggers will be fished out in a week.

23 posted on 02/21/2006 3:45:38 AM PST by leadhead (Itís a duty and a responsibility to defeat them. But it's also a pleasure)
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To: ken5050

Sounds like skeet shooting could be raised to another level.

Might even be fun.


24 posted on 02/21/2006 5:15:22 AM PST by SusaninOhio
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To: NormsRevenge

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to drive a boat and he will eat carp for a life time.


25 posted on 02/21/2006 5:18:06 AM PST by wolfcreek
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To: SusaninOhio
"Sounds like skeet shooting could be raised to another level."

Converting a potential crisis into outdoor entertainment. Is this a great country or what? :-)

26 posted on 02/21/2006 5:24:05 AM PST by verity (The MSM is comprised of useless eaters)
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To: NormsRevenge

I recommed Cheney fish with a 28 gauge. The carp don't stand a chance.


27 posted on 02/21/2006 5:27:44 AM PST by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: dead

May not destory us all but it this is one of those situations that does need to be dealt with, quickly. Carp where introduced into southern Florida canals to help reduce clogging from weeds, but they ended up doing a lot of destruction to native species of fish , to this day their are waterways that are still unfishable.


28 posted on 02/21/2006 5:32:31 AM PST by stacytec (Nihilism, its whats for dinner)
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To: NormsRevenge

Must be time for the untenured con-men to beg for taxpayer grants. Besides, nearly everyone living near the Great Lakes died back in the 1970s from eating the polluted fish. And those who survived will be eaten by alligators migrating north or polar bears heading south to escape global warming.


29 posted on 02/21/2006 5:44:59 AM PST by sergeantdave (And on the second day The Lord created February - the slowest month of the year.)
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To: wolfcreek

"Teach a man to drive a boat and he will eat carp for a life time.
"

Teach a man to drive a boat and he will leave the plug out at the launching ramp and sink it...preventing me from launching my boat for an hour. Feh!


30 posted on 02/21/2006 6:03:12 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: Iowa Granny; Ladysmith; Diana in Wisconsin; JLO; sergeantdave; damncat; MozartLover; ...

If you'd like to be on or off Upper Midwest (WI, IA, MN, MI, and anyone else) list, largely outdoors and rural issues, please FR mail me. And ping me is you see articles of interest.


31 posted on 02/21/2006 6:40:26 AM PST by SJackson (There is but one language which can be held to these people, and this is terror, William Eaton)
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To: proud_yank; blam; Carry_Okie; Chanticleer; ClearCase_guy; cogitator; CollegeRepublican; ...
ping - Thought this might interest you

Thanks for the heads up!

ECO-PING

FReepmail me to be added or removed to the ECO-PING list!

While I'm not one to placate the gloom and doom crowd, this is a pretty serious potential problem, especially if you enjoy sport fishing.

32 posted on 02/21/2006 6:48:17 AM PST by GreenFreeper (Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress)
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To: stacytec

No kidding, We're already overrun with all kinds of invasive species up here.


33 posted on 02/21/2006 6:48:24 AM PST by cripplecreek (Never a minigun handy when you need one.)
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To: leadhead

I think you've hit upon the answer. A bit dishonest, perhaps, but probably no less effective than the other products which tout similar abilities.


34 posted on 02/21/2006 7:48:31 AM PST by Chanticleer (Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready. T. Roosevelt)
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To: TheCrusader

LOL!


35 posted on 02/21/2006 10:38:21 AM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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