Was Asian carp near Great Lakes just a scare?

Jul 10, 2017

There's some good news from Illinois, where an Asian Carp was recently caught just nine miles from Lake Michigan.

In two weeks of intensive, follow-up monitoring, no bighead or silver Asian carp were found, a regional monitoring group says.  

Asian carp
Credit U.S. Geological Survey

The silver carp caught June 22 below the T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam set off a scramble among  environmentalists and officials.

They worry about the impact of the invasive Asian carp, especially the voracious, aggressive bighead and silver varieties. The fish is so worrisome that electric barriers have been installed in waterways leading to the southern tip of Lake Michigan, a potential entry point to the Great Lakes. 

The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee said the discovery triggered increased monitoring of the Chicago Area Waterway System. That monitoring, which included gill netting and electro-fishing, ended on July 7, the group said Monday.

​But the Alliance for the Great Lakes says more should be done to protect the Great Lakes.

"The situation should be a wake-up call for agencies that have become complacent while Asian carp populations march steadily toward Lake Michigan," the group said in a statement. "Instead, it appears to be met by government agencies and administration officials with a collective yawn. ...  

"The finding of an adult Asian carp north of the electric barrier is a warning signal. Asian carp continue to move toward the Great Lakes yet the Administration and government agencies continue to put the Great Lakes at risk by continuing with business as usual."

Meanwhile, the silver carp captured June 22 is being analyzed to determine its age and origin.