Why Are Asian Carp So Fearsome?

Why doesn’t Wildlife Services get a job killing these rather than our native wildlife?

Instead we have the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doing nothing to stop their spread to the Great Lakes.

Why Are Asian Carp So Fearsome? By Karen Rowan. LiveScience.com as reported in Yahoo News.





  1. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    It would be nice if Wildlife Services would start eradicating non-native wildlife like carp more often. Those are the true scourges.

    1. Indamani Avatar

      That would be asking too much of Wildlife Services. They only work to protect the interest of the livestock industry and carp is not a threat to that stinking industry.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Of course, and my question was actually rhetorical.

  2. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    One Asian carp got through the electric fence barrier? Isn’t that like saying 1 rabbit? Asian carp, zebra mussels, industrial pollution – we have really trashed the Great Lakes Ecosystem. Actually, we have done a pretty good job of laying waste to most of the rest of the country too!

    1. Larry Zuckerman Avatar

      Let’s not forgot, we also added Pacific salmonids like steelhead, Coho salmon, Chinook salmon and on top of it also stocked rainbow trout, brown trout, and other non-native fishes on top of the native Great Lakes whitefish species, Atlantic salmon, burbot, brook trout, lake trout, and the extinct blue walleye of Lake Erie.

      In one stream that I helped in field work while getting my master’s in Syracuse, Orwell Brook, a tributary of the “other” Salmon River (as in Atlantic salmon) there were resident and also lake-run brown trout, resident and lake-run brook trout, resident rainbow trout and lake-run steelhead, Coho salmon, and 40lb+ Chinook salmon all in a tiny little stream on the west edge of the Adirondacks (Tug Hill Plateau) and the leeside of Lake Ontario.

      Talk about non-natives and the Great Lakes. The St. Lawrence Seaway (COE!!!) and earlier the Erie Canal opened the lakes up to all kinds of aquatic invasive species while water pollution from the Rust Belt cities and factories, acid rain from the nickel smelters in Ontario, and overfishing by commercial and sports anglers has basically wiped out the Great Lakes aquatic ecosystems.

      What’s a little Asian carp on top of them all. Oh yes, forget the Common Carp brought to us by the US Fish Commission and zebra mussels (guess folks on Lake Michigan beaches cut their feet on their sharp shells).

    2. WM Avatar

      So Larry,

      Sad story that it is, what is your solution to the mess that has been created in the Great Lakes? Do we just let the Asian carp take over? Some Chicago restaurant chef is calling them “Shanghai Bass” and putting them on the menu. Maybe he would like his supply a little closer to home.

  3. Pronghorn Avatar

    “After rigorous scientific and technical review, it’s clear that shutting down Chicago’s waterways is not an effective solution,” said Rep. Judy Biggert, an Illinois Republican.

    “It’s CLEAR”??? Shut the locks already!
    As a part-time noxious weed educator here in the West, the parallels are hard to miss–an exotic species intentionally introduced; escaped from captivity into a similar, accommodating climate; prolific reproduction, no natural predators, and has the ability to cause entire ecosystems to collapse. And as with noxious weeds, you have a populace (broadly speaking) that doesn’t really grasp the impending disaster. People don’t tend to see the ecological disaster that is noxious weeds the way they do the Gulf oil spill–weeds are much slower and not as dramatic. I wonder if they see A. carp as “just a fish, what’s the big deal?”

    Click here for a horrifying pic of the Illinois River (this is also where the above quote is found): http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/06/03/great-lakes-asian-carp/?refid=0&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MPR_science+%28Science+from+Minnesota+Public+Radio%29

  4. Chris Harbin Avatar
    Chris Harbin

    You are right that is a sad picture.
    I have been amazed at the trade-offs made recently. Here, closing the locks will hurt the local economy so this is not done even though the alternative is the loss of a several billion dollar fishery and a priceless environment.
    BP chooses seawater instead of 300 dollar a barrel casing mud and the price tag of that choice will probably be incalculable.
    Some drilling rig suppliers will be hurt by a six month moratorium on deep-water drilling so they go to court get an injunction against the ban from a judge who has money in various oil companies.
    I empathize with the people who will suffer because of the poor environmental and business choices we have made. I really do. But, it’s not justifiable in some cases to put the needs of a few ahead of the needs of the many and the needs of those that come after us.
    As far as the drilling rig service people I do not understand why their economic problem can be taken out of BP’s wallet.

    1. Salle Avatar

      It’s the almighty dollar, folks. I wonder if we humans will adapt to eating those dollar bills and plastic cards when it finally becomes too late to produce any other food. We are so distracted, on purpose by multinational corporations for their gain only, with gadgets and toys and entertainment that we can’t even muster real interest in our own REAL needs for the sake of the all important “survival of the species”. But then, maybe that’s what we (and especially every other living thing in the biosphere) need, a major population crash… of humans. And perhaps this is only the beginning of that series of events. Only some of us are willing to pay attention to it, and most of those are only willing to acknowledge it as long as it doesn’t ~ god forbid ~ affect our accumulation of the almighty dollar.

  5. Angela Avatar

    I have known about the Asian carp issue for quite a while, but was not aware of all of their attributes. It’s like they hoover up all the nutrients and take all of the complexity out of the food web. Amazing. In areas where they are already numerous, it seems to me we should be aggressively harvesting these fish for fertilizer and even food. With certain of these species, it seems only one instance is needed to cause a catastrophic change in the ecosystem. Just like one oil accident is fouling the entire Gulf.

  6. Nancy Avatar

    In the case of the silver carp, I’m not understanding why smaller boats can’t be outfitted similar to fishing trawlers to solve the problem on some of these rivers. I’ve heard carp is not bad when you pressure cook it. Of course this could be Nature’s way of helping out mankind once the seas have been depleted.

  7. Alan Gregory Avatar

    Why isn’t the Corps doing something? Gee, perhaps the quasi-military agency is just too darn busy these days with building and rebuilding river levees, beaches and such.

  8. MJ Graham Avatar

    As a resident living near the eastern end of Lake Erie, the potential is quite devastating. And considering the progress we’ve made in cleaning up Lake Erie after the industrial debacles of the first half of the 20th century, it is maddening to think we will lose this ecosystem. What I don’t understand is why this is not being made an international issue as Canada lays claim to half of four of these lakes. And consider that 75 percent of the Canadian population lives around the Great Lakes. We’ve got treaties with Canada specifically about these border waters. I have pressed my federal representatives to think along these lines but I’ve heard not a word back from them and read nothing in the media about the international implications. Our society just never seems to look at the big picture. Seventh generation is not a concept the powers that be seem to understand.

    1. JB Avatar

      Proof, yet again, that politics are not rational. Any rational cost-benefit analysis would indicate that we have much more to lose by allowing asian carp into this ecosystem then will be gained by keeping these shipping lanes open.

  9. Pronghorn Avatar

    Thank you for posting that article, MJ Graham.
    “The Army Corps of Engineers has confirmed that at this time there is no need to close area locks over this discovery,” said Mark Biel, executive director of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois. “As the government’s own studies have shown, lock closure undermines the resources and regional support necessary to solve this problem, while doing nothing to protect the Great Lakes.”

  10. Pronghorn Avatar

    Larry Z said: June 27, 2010 at 5:07 PM
    Let’s not forgot, we also added Pacific salmonids like steelhead, Coho salmon, Chinook salmon and on top of it also stocked rainbow trout, brown trout, and other non-native fishes…

    So true. And let’s not forget that salmon were introduced to control alewife, another nonnative species that got into the Great Lakes due to another constructed shipping channel (Welland)…and now, from what I gather, alewife are “managed” so that salmon sport fishing will be sustained!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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