Senate allocates $11 million to prevent spread of Asian Carp

Senate allocates million to prevent spread of Asian Carp

An Interior Appropriations bill passed in the U.S. Senate aims to help scientists curtail the spread of invasive Asian Carp, particularly into the Great Lakes. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., announced Tuesday the bill contains $11 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s ongoing effort to halt Asian carp movement along the Mississippi and Ohio river basins and prevent it from entering the Great Lakes. “The invasive and destructive Asian carp are no friend of the Great Lakes, and we need to do all we can to keep them out and protect our wildlife and Great Lakes,” Sen. Schumer said in a statement.Fish and Wildlife Service scientists have spent decades researching and deploying various tools to impede Asian carp from traveling into new waters and outcompeting native fish.Todd J. Turner, Midwest assistant regional director of fisheries for the service, said people imported Asian carp to eat the algae in their catfish ponds, but flooding and accidental releases, sent the non-native fish into the Mississippi River system. It has since spread to other river systems. Some populations have reached as close as 50 to 100 miles from Lake Michigan, although Mr. Turner said that hasn’t changed much in the recent decade. As adept filter feeders, Mr. Turner said Asian carp can outcompete juvenile native fish species like bass and catfish for food like microplankton and zoo plankton. The silver carp, which has sensitive hearing, also threatens boaters because it jumps in the air when startled by loud noises and can strike someone in the head. “Obviously, you’re going to see a real reduction in native species,” like bass and catfish, he said, “very popular sport fish.”Out of all four Asian carp species found in the U.S., the service primarily focuses on Bighead and Silver carp because they have spread out the farthest.Mr. Turner said Bighead and Silver carp can grow as large as 100 and 70 pounds, respectively, consume 40 percent of their body weight and have taken up as much as 90 percent of the biomass in some areas they have inhabited. “That’s a big chunk of the food web base taken away,” Mr. Turner said.In addition to monitoring, initial efforts to deal with the Asian carp included electric barriers to stop it from spreading in the Chicago River system. The services have implemented more tactics, like the introduction of toxins to combat the invasive fish, as Congress has made more funding available and issued more tasks for other water bodies, Mr. Turner said. Congress provided $10.4 million this year for more extensive monitoring and to partner with commercial fisherman to stop the fish from spreading.Continued support from Congress could help advance new barriers such as using carbon dioxide or using a combination of complex sounds, which Asian carp species are sensitive to, and bubbles to deter them, Mr. Turner said, although Congress instructs the service on how it should spend any additional funds. “It will be very well needed,” he said. The Great Lakes provides drinking water to 30 million people and supports a $7 billion fishing industry and $15.5 billion boating industry.“The Great Lakes are some of New York’s most precious natural resources, and we need to do everything possible to protect them against the imminent threat of Asian Carp,” Sen. Gillibrand said in a statement.
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News
Senate allocates million to prevent spread of Asian Carp

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