Invasive Species: Asian Carp

By Evan KreagerGreat Lakes EchoAsian carp may be one of the better known of the many aquatic invasive species attempting to make their way into the Great Lakes basin. They are one of the five “usual suspects” recognized by The Nature Conservancy in a public awareness campaign. Big head and silver are the most common types of carp, having been spotted in 18 different states, according to The Nature Conservancy. Big head carp can grow up to 60 inches and weigh over 100 pounds. Silver carp are a bit smaller, with a length of about 40 inches and a weight of 60 pounds.

Study indicates Asian carp may already be in Great Lakes

Study indicates Asian carp may already be in Great Lakes by EmanueleB

A new study released in April finds Asian carp may in fact be reaching the Great Lakes.  The Asian carp is an invasive species with an appetite large enough to potentially decimate the food chain ecosystem of the Great Lakes.  There have been many efforts to contain the spread of the fish in the Chicago Area Waterway System to connects to Lake Michigan.  The study now raises new questions about the effectiveness of that system. Current State’s Mark Bashore talks with study co-author Dr. Andrew Mahon, assistant professor of biology at Central Michigan University, and Dr. Tammy Newcomb, senior water policy advisor for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  

CSI: Invasives

Great Lakes scientists are using DNA methods to investigate invasive species.

It could help us to better understand where and if they’ll strike next.

Carp creep

Here’s a nifty animated graphic that plots the spread of Asian carp.

It was produced by the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Wildlife Federation.

Judas test: Will carp betray their own?


University of Minnesota researchers are recruiting common carp to test a way to eliminate Asian carp, according to WCCO-TV. Fisheries experts fear that the invasive Asian carp may spread into the Great Lakes and elsewhere and outcompete native fish with its voracious appetite. The researchers are fitting common carp, or “Judas fish,” with transmitters to lead them to other, larger schools of common carp, the station reports. “(Carp) seem to be actually exceptionally social, they really hang out together,” researcher Peter Sorensen told the station. “We have to confirm that, but it sure looks that way.”

If the experiment shows how a common carp can “betray” other common carp locations, the same technique could be used in Asian carp populations to help exterminate them in the future, said Bill Hudson, the story’s reporter.

Chicago discovers local Asian carp, Shedd Aquarium puts them on display


The invasive Asian carp is once again in Chicago waters — this time safely behind glass at the city’s Shedd Aquarium. Shedd executives thought it would be a good idea to make an example of three large carp discovered in the city’s Humboldt Park Lagoon Oct. 9. Experts believe the carp may negatively affect the Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishing industry if it enters the basin, according to the National Park Service. “Thanks to the incredible efforts of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, these three Asian carp have been removed from our urban habitats and will now serve as educational ambassadors to Shedd’s 2.1 million annual guests about the immediate need to protect our local waters,” Roger Germann, executive vice president of Shedd’s Great Lakes and Sustainability program said in a press release.

Chicago River haunted by Asian carp and ghosts?

Terrifying events will conspire on the Chicago River this week, and it’s not just the launching of the latest search for Asian carp. Starting today, the company Living Social is taking customers on haunted kayaking tours. During the night, paddlers will make their way along the Chicago River, pausing to hear tales of  “ghost, haunting, and other river — borne horrors,”  according to the event brief. Living Social’s website warns, “there may be some actual scream-inducing moments along the way.”

While kayakers listen to frightening river tales, scientists will search for a potentially alarming truth. They’re looking for Asian carp, also starting today and continuing through Sunday, according to the Associated Press.