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The Asian Carp Invasion Could Empty Lake Erie of Fish

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Old January 9th, 2016, 05:02 AM posted to alt.fishing.catfish
Garrison Hilliard
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Default The Asian Carp Invasion Could Empty Lake Erie of Fish

By Padma Nagappan | Takepart.com
January 7, 2016 2:04 PM


The Asian Carp Invasion Could Empty Lake Erie of Fish


Lake Erie is bountiful in highly prized walleye and rainbow trout. But
populations of these commercially important fish could plummet if
Asian carp manage to invade the lake, according to a new report.

In the first-of-its kind study, scientists from the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Notre Dame
found that carp, which are moving at a rapid clip toward the Great
Lakes, could make up a third of all fish in Lake Erie by weight within
20 years if the invasive species overcomes efforts to keep them at

Voracious eaters, Asian carp feed on plankton, tiny organisms which
form the basis of the food web. Small fish that live in Lake Erie—such
as the Emerald shiner, gizzard shad, and rainbow smelt—also feed on
plankton, and their numbers could fall dramatically if they have to
compete with carp for food, according to the study published in the
journal Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. That in turn
would hurt walleye, a commercially valuable species that eat the
smaller fish.

Two Asian carp species found in the United States, the big head carp
and silver carp, have reached watersheds near the Great Lakes. In
October, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists discovered that
silver carp had advanced a record 12 miles up the Illinois River in
just one month, traveling 66 miles toward Lake Michigan since the
beginning of 2015.

RELATED: A Terminator Fish Is Moving at Record Speed Toward the Great

“Back in the 1970s, the carp were introduced purposely to clear out
cat fish farms in some ponds in Arkansas,” said Ed Rutherford,
co-author of the study and a fisheries biologist with the NOAA Great
Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. “They escaped from there
during some flooding and made their way into the watershed of the
Mississippi, and are now very abundant in the Mississippi and the
Illinois rivers.”

The carp now make up about 80 percent of all the fish by weight in
those rivers he said, but computer modeling study shows that the
potential impact on Lake Erie would not be as extreme.

“That’s because Lake Erie has more potential predators for young Asian
carp than in those rivers,” Rutherford said.

Related stories on TakePart:

• Climate Change Is Not So Hot for Great Lakes Fish and Fishermen

• 10 Invasive Species You Didn't Know About

• Get Ready for a Superstorm of Creepy Critters: Invasive Species Are
Hitching Rides on Extreme Weather

Original article from TakePart


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