If you haven't heard, Asian Carp are invading the Great lakes.
The Zebra Mussel clung its way into the tributaries of the Lakes by way of boat motor and stern. The conical shell has become a beacon of distress for ecologically abrupt water systems. Photos depict obtuse yachts in the water, crooked with the weight of this miniscule mollusk. If you have ever seen a bunch of these suckers move, it might be reminiscent of a long ago Acid trip. The bunches grow so big that they clog subsidiary drainage systems and devour algae crucial to the ecological system.
The Asian Carp is more devastating.
Silver Carp, Black Carp, Bighead Carp. These, and others are the North American nickname of this voracious bottom feeder. It survives mainly on plankton, but devours obtrusive snails with delight. The Asian Carp was brought to The States in the late 70's by Catfish farmers in the South East. The Carp are supreme cleaners, they grow to a meter and a half in length and weigh in at a hefty 45 kilos. Get the drift? These suckers are HUGE. BIG.
The Carp were damn good maids.
Unfortunately for the ecosystems of the North American tributaries of the Mississippi River and the Great lakes, the Carp will become a plague. The Carp eat plankton and thrash about in shallow waters. This behavior destroys the habitat and food source of the copious species of game fish fry.
Floods let the Carp into the river.
Flooding of the Mississippi in the late 1990's allowed the Carp to creep into the Mississippi. From their home in Louisiana, the Carp crept up over dams and locks, past the spirit of Mark Twain. When they arrived in Chicago by means of the Illinois river, DNR officials shit their pants. In the middle of July 2002, Eric Slater of the L.A. Times wrote a brief syndicated article about the migration of the Carp toward the Great lakes.
"A fisherman on the Kaskaskia River in southern Illinois suffered a broken nose when one leaped into his face".
The article detailed more than the danger the jumping abilities of these Carp. The article spoke of the greater demise (of the great lakes) and the measures the government was implementing to stop it.
Carp had been spotted in the Illinois River. Researchers had netted a thirty pound silver Carp and the threat toward Lake Michigan was inevitable. Bureaucrats put it on their agenda and after conferring with neighboring states, decided to create a barrier. The Army Corps of Engineers would devise and construct a dual electronic/ bubbling mechanism to deter the fish. Chain link fences had been constructed on the waterway to no avail, the Carp simply jumped over them. Who knows how many have creeped through by now?
The Slater article has inspired a slur of different accounts depicting the Carp as an unusual beast. Documenting officers of the DNR had been interviewed, as well as local fishermen. Most account for the jumping ability of the fish. Broken noses, concussions, near misses, they all provide fantastic reading. Statistics are easy to field when the species simply jumps into your boat. It may be difficult to imagine, but these nasty beasts are ambivalent. They also gots' hops.
They have one motive; to inhabit and take over. Walleye fry will waste away along with the fatty Salmon and Perch we fish. Ultimately, an injury from a jumping fish will result in tragedy and we will succumb to the realization that our ultimate demise stemmed from the need to proliferate our species. We never thought our control might get out of hand and ruin everything.