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Call in the army to protect Great Lakes from carp invasion says study

By Colin Ricketts - 01 Jul 2011 14:16:0 GMT
Call in the army to protect Great Lakes from carp invasion says study

Academics don't often call for less study, but experts on the Great Lakes in North America warn that unless radical action is taken quickly, Asian carp will cause terrible damage to native species and fishery economies.

It sounds like the nuclear option, but a study by fisheries experts says only a physical separation of the North American Great Lakes from the Mississippi will stave off the possibly cataclysmic damage to native ecosystems from the Asian carp.

Using forceful language and calling for quick action to avert a disaster, Bill Taylor, University Distinguished professor in global fisheries sustainability at Michigan State University and a member of MSU's Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, says its time to stop studying and start acting.

"You know it's big when academics and the management community say we don't need five more years of study," he said Bill Taylor. "The costs of hydrological separation are high, but it's a one-time expense and remediation in the Great Lakes from these invasive species will eventually make separation look cheap."

Politicians have argued that electric barriers are stopping the spread of the alien species, while also saying that it's too late to act to stop the influx. Policy makers also question the viability of the species in the Great Lakes and whether they will cause serious damage. Claims Taylor has little time for.

"I am tired of studying what we already know is going to happen," Taylor said. "We've watched this coming on for 10 years. We know what's going to happen."

"The Asian carp are going to whack the tributaries," Taylor said. "They're going to eat all the food - they eat anything they get in their mouth and that means they'll eat the food base that our resident fish would normally eat. They will change the food web and dominate our streams and near shore regions in the Great Lakes basin."

The study calls for action and even calling in the army in the shape of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help separate the lakes from the carp's Mississippi home.

Top Image Credit: © Witold Krasowski