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Environment & Climate Change
Asian carp have been making their way up the Mississippi River system for years after escaping from fish farms and wastewater treatment ponds in the southern U.S.They’re knocking on the door of the Great Lakes, and a number of people are concerned about what could happen if carp become established in the region.In this five-part series, we’ll take a look at what officials are trying to do to keep the fish out, what might happen if carp get in, and why some people want to turn carp into a business opportunity.

No Asian carp found in search of Illinois lake

Bighead_Carp_Lake_Calumet_June_2010.jpg
(courtesy of the Illins Department of Natural Resources)
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Bighead Asian carp caught in Lake Calumet last year

State and federal wildlife officials say their latest search has turned up no Asian carp swimming in an Illinois lake close to Lake Michigan, though they admit they can’t say there are no carp in the lake. 

“We’re saying if there are fish there…they’re there in very low abundances," says Kevin Irons,  the head of the state of Illinois’ office of Nuisance Aquatic Life.   He says no Asian carp were found during a recent four day search of Lake Calumet.   Carp DNA was found in the lake recently.  

“We did a fairly thorough job of sampling what fish were there. So the big thing is…there’s not a lot of fish moving…and…we didn’t see any evidence of Asian carp there.”

The state of Michigan has asked federal officials to close the canal which connects Lake Michigan to carp infested waters in Illinois.   But the feds say electric barriers are enough to keep the carp from passing into the Great Lakes. 

Asian Carp is an invasive species which environmentalists and others fear will devastate indigenous Great Lakes fish species if it reaches Lake Michigan.   

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