Andy Soergel and Shawn Swaney We are environmentalists examining the origins of the Asian Carp dilemma and weighing the pros and cons of potential solutions, hoping to solidify a plan that could be proposed to Congress. Fish can break bones! Video shows a man with a black eye and broken nose from a jumping carp Families commonly go to the Great Lakes, so these dangerous fish could seriously diminish tourist profits as well http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGWiaqG jQaU&feature=related Silver and bighead carp in particular aggressively feed on plankton This is helpful to aquaculture, as carp eat many types of plankton and phytoplankton that cause algal blooms Believed to have originally escaped in aquaculture farms in Arkansas during intense flooding The fish used in these ponds often escape through flooding, or, in the case of some carp, jumping New outdoor aquaculture ponds are being developed, which could involve the import of even more of an already invasive species Rising temperatures also means suitability for native fish is moving northward Suitable rivers for warmwater fish are expected to rise by 31% across the US This means an estimated 19 fish species will invade the lower Great Lakes and another 8 lower Great Lakes species will invade the upper Great Lakes Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) were brought to the United States from Europe around 1831, mostly to be placed in private ponds. Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) were imported from Asia around 1963 to help control plant quality in aquaculture ponds Found in the Missisippi River near Illinois in 1971 Silver carp (Hypophthal- michthys molotrix) and bighead carp (H. nobilis) were imported from China to help manage algal blooms and water quality in ponds in 1973 Found in Mississippi River near Illinois around 1982 Many more of these carp escaped during the Great Mississippi Floods of 1993 These fish breed rapidly and quickly spread in a waterway They threaten to starve native species to the Illinois River, Mississippi River, and Great Lakes Plankton-eating species like the gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) and bigmouth buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus) at risk They also threaten to disrupt food chains and food webs from a micro- to macroscopic level Lake Michigan should theoretically lack sufficient plankton to support long-term carp populations However, because the average water temperature of Lake Michigan rarely exceeds 20˚C, the fish can maintain their body mass on the present plankton supplies over a 30-day period. Over 30 days in 20˚C water, the average carp can travel over 40km, easily accessing other waterways with higher concentrations of plankton The Great Lakes annually provides about $7 billion to the US economy in fishing-related profits This could be HUGELY affected by the invasive carp The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers completed an electric fence in 2006 to combat the fish Cost $9 million This barrier is also potentially harmful to other fish life, not just carp It isn’t actually working very well… Safety for humans was inconclusive; this could be a big problem if someone fell in the water in the middle of the barrier There are now three of these fences set up around Chicago These toxins, used to repel fish during fence maintenance, cost over $3 million and take 2 weeks to clean up In 2009, this effort killed 200,000 pounds of fish, of which only one pound was Asian carp. Did they get all the toxins? Aren’t we eating other fish from these rivers? Build more fences? Build a dam? Close off Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal? Eat all of them? Do nothing? We already know what we’re doing We’re stopping most of the fish already One of the least expensive solutions The government and the US Army Corps of Engineers both support this move Fish smaller than 6 inches in length can still get through Disrupting non-carp fish patterns The maintenance and toxin use is risky Boats and other crafts are getting shocked, which is bad for the electronics on board The shocks could be potentially harmful to humans and other species Is shocking and stunning/paralyzing fish unethical? A flood-control dam could limit fish entering the Great Lakes Provides extra water supply Flood control in Chicago currently dumps floodwater into Lake Michigan If the fish get much closer, this water disposal method could dump carp caught in the water into the Great Lakes ▪ A flood-control dam could prevent this The Great Lakes are right there; no one needs an extra water supply Would severely alter downstream activity of the Illinois Would negatively impact the ecological integrity of the region about as much as an unrestrained carp population Sediment build-up $$$$$$ Second most expensive solution Impractical In the time it takes to construct a dam, the fish could already penetrate the electric barrier and make it to Lake Michigan The Army Corps has identified over a dozen waterways through which carp can get to the Great Lakes other than up the Illinois River, so this could be useless The Des Plaines River runs just parallel to the Illinois (only yards apart in some places) Flooding often causes the fish species of each river to inter-mix If the carp get far enough North along the Illinois River, it is only a matter of time before they spread to Des Plaines and literally around the electric barrier, into Lake Michigan So damming one water way could be a total waste This is the most reliable way to completely avoid the carp from entering the Great Lakes There would be relatively few environmental repercussions The fish could be isolated and dealt with more effectively Returns Great Lakes to original ecological integrity before the canal was built This waterway is currently the only channel connecting the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Lawrence Seaway Every year, over a million tons of goods travel through the this waterway; closing the canal could result in huge losses in the trading industry Lots of trade comes through this region that would need to reroute; more expensive to trade and ship items Can the government justify spending so much money and then losing money in the trade industry? Four consecutive Supreme Court decisions go against this drastic action The US Supreme Court has voted to stay out of the fish fray on four separate occasions Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania requested that the Army Corps of Engineers install two nets in Chicago rivers to cut fish off while the Canal was filled ▪ Denied; too drastic, expensive, and time consuming (two decades!) This would lead to a permanent solution that would involve closing off the manmade Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which connects Canadian waterways with the Mississippi River and eventually the Gulf of Mexico Costs from $3 billion at the very cheapest and least environmentally friendly to around $9.5 billion Taxpayer dollars and government funds would subsidize this project The aforementioned lawsuit of the five states vs. the Army Corps is still pending a ruling in a federal district court, but prospects are not great Fish would become much less expensive if we utilized this resource to its fullest 85% of fish in the United States are imported, which raises costs Carp are healthy and would help with nutritionally sound diets Least expensive alternative Creates jobs for fishermen Least environmentally invasive Name of a chain of Asian Carp merchants, not the actual solution Chef Philippe Parola insists he has found a way to make the fish both delicious and incredibly profitable Chinese consider the fish a delicacy, so they are actually surprised we are not eating these fish up “Chinese ‘foodies’ must join battle and rescue the Americans! The Obama Administration will reimburse you for eating steamed fish head with chopped peppers.” –Tweet from Chinese media executive Fish are described as bloody and bony Many people do not feel that they taste very good If toxins are being used to regulate these fish, do we really want to eat them in excess? There isn’t enough time or resources to get ALL of these fish and keep them from entering the Great Lakes This is not a viable long-term solution Overfishing along Great Lakes tributaries does not necessarily guarantee that only Asian Carp will get picked up in nets Native species could be adversely impacted/overfished We don’t pay anything Streams across America have jumping, semidangerous fish Great Lakes are invaded The $7 billion fishing industry in the Great Lakes is compromised The carp take out the Great Lakes food web at its ankles, eating all the plankton and phytoplankton and overcrowding the native species The carp invade other Great Lakes tributaries, spreading the carp problem to other waterways “A failure to address the exotic species problem will likely result in more introductions and potential harmful effects to native biota.” –USGS Asian Carp Analysis Most economically-sound solution while keeping the environment in mind: Maintain the electric fences Best decision for the environment: Closing the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Most likely solution in 2012: Maintain the electric fences and wait to see what the Army Corps reports in 2014 Our personal favorite: Everyone eat carp!