How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bad for Muskies, Bad for Great Lakes

Here's an article that I found that has to be one of the DUMBEST things I've ever heard of from the Chicago Tribune. If you are an angler, either for muskies or for salmon and trout from the Great Lakes, this is a big deal.

I fish for muksies mostly, but I also fish on the Great Lakes. If the Asian Carp gets a foothold, it will be devestating to a fishery that's already pressured because of zebra mussels and other invasive species. These carp will make their way into not only the Great Lakes, but Green Bay and other bays where native species, such as muskies, are starting to make a comeback.

Unpaid barrier bill would let carp spreadBY MICHAEL HAWTHORNE CHICAGO TRIBUNETwo barriers intended to keep gluttonous Asian carp out of the Great Lakes could be shut down because nobody wants to pay the electric bill.

Members of a House-Senate budget committee decided this week not to pay the roughly $1 million needed to keep the electrical barriers operating in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the last line of defense between Lake Michigan and the carp-infested Illinois River.

The decision marks the latest setback for a project that has been repeatedly plagued by construction delays and financial woes.

Only 50 miles of water and the pair of barriers stand between the lakes and the advancing carp, which took less than a decade to eat their way up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.

If Congress doesn't set aside money for the barriers in another bill, the Army Corps of Engineers is expected to run out of money to keep them operating by May. It then would be up to the state of Illinois to pick up the tab, something state officials say they aren't able to do, either.

"This should be a federal responsibility," said Mike Conlin, director of resource conservation at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. "These barriers are in place to protect all of the Great Lakes, not just the Illinois portion of Lake Michigan."

Asian carp worry biologists who study the Great Lakes because the fish devour up to 40 percent of their body weight each day, mostly by straining out tiny organisms that provide the base of the food chain for popular sport fish such as bass and walleye.

If the carp get into Lake Michigan, scientists fear they could end up causing more ecological and economic damage than other invasive species that have spread throughout the lakes, such as the sea lamprey and the zebra mussel.
Commercial and sport fishing on the Great Lakes is estimated to bring $4.5 billion to the region each year.

Tests have shown that a temporary series of electric cables strung across the bottom of the Sanitary and Ship Canal, combined with bursts of air bubbles and piercing sound waves, can persuade the giant carp to turn back. With a combination of federal and state money, the corps recently built another, more powerful barrier in the canal near Romeoville, Ill.

Southern fish farmers imported Asian carp to help clear algae and snails from their ponds. Flooding allowed the fish to escape and start moving up the Mississippi.
The carp grow to an average of 4 feet and 60 pounds and can jump nearly 10 feet into the air when disturbed by passing boats. Recreational fishermen along the Illinois sometimes carry garbage can lids to protect themselves from carp flopping into their boats.


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