Here at Great Lakes Echo we’re very aware of the Asian carp invasion. We don’t write much about it because so many people are doing such a great job covering that story, but we do like to keep tabs on new developments.
A lot of blame has been tossed around in the past months. Irresponsible fish farmers let the carp get into the rivers. The shipping industry cares more about making a buck than preserving a fragile ecosystem (or the fishing industry). Preventative measures were insubstantial. Now a new batch of players has been thrown into the ring. Apparently government agencies moved Asian carp north years ago, and have been keeping mum on the issue. In the 1970s, the government funded Asian carp research in our neck of the woods. Carp came to Illinois from Arkansas by the truckload to clean up manure and sewage. An Illinois ecologist says none of the fish escaped. Not everyone is so sure.
“The public sectors, including universities and state and federal entities, have contributed significantly to at least one importation of the black carp, the spawning and probable release into natural waters of the silver and bighead carps, and the distribution and use of all three species,” reads a 2008 report from researchers at the National Aquaculture Research Center in Stuttgart, Ark., and the University of Arkansas.
What does it mean? In light of keeping the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, not much. But it helps fill in the picture of how we got in this mess in the first place.