In late October 2015, two small silver Asian carp were found in the Marseilles Pool of the Illinois River, according to a release from the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC). The find means that the invasive species has moved about 12 miles closer since the last determination, putting them within more than 76 miles of Lake Michigan.
This was preceded by another discovery that small fish may be able to pass through the electrical barriers in Chicago’s Sanitary and Ship Canal by getting stuck in small spaces beneath ships. Not surprisingly, many have considered the odds that Asian carp could exploit the weakness and work their way into the Great Lakes.
Scientists have been working for decades to keep the invasive fish out of the water bodies, and deserve some credit for the fact that Asian carp don’t currently live in the Great Lakes. The retreating victory is also shared by government agencies, like the ACRCC and others.
What sort of tactics are they throwing at invasive Asian carp? A post from the Detroit Free Press is very illuminating on some of the efforts that scientists are putting forth:
- Super-oxygenating the water Asian carp live in so they die;
- Creating nanoparticles filled with poison to target them;
- Deploying curtains of bubbles or annoying noise to drive them away;
- Firing jolts of electricity at them using a backpack-mounted “ray gun”;
- Dispelling Asian carp with water guns;
- Using pheromones to drive the fish away or attract them to areas where they can be easily killed;
- Developing “biobullets” with tiny, calibrated doses of poison to kill only them;
- And altering Asian carp eggs so that their offspring are sterile.
“We can control Asian carp if we put the time, effort and will into it,” said Duane Chapman, a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, to the Detroit Free Press.
“It’s very exciting to be part of the efforts to control a major economic and environmental problem,” said Reuben Goforth, assistant professor of forestry and natural resources at Purdue University, to the newspaper. “But it’s too bad we need to do this. We need new priorities. We need to be looking at the next invasive species.”