Thursday, December 3
Ghastly! Poisoning the river to rid Asian Carp
I peeked over at my neighbor's RedEye in the El today. A man-made Chicago waterway was poisoned to get rid of the invasive Asian carp species (remember them?).
"The fish has entered the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal — a man-made link between the Mississippi River system and the Great Lakes — and is knocking on the door of Lake Michigan. Once inside a Great Lake, the carp would have free rein in the world's largest freshwater ecosystem, imperiling the native fish of the lakes and a $7 billion fishing and recreation industry."
But so far, all the dead fish (90 tonnes expected) that have floated to the surface of the water have been native carp and shad. The toxin used is a naturally-occurring toxin that prevents fish gills from absorbing oxygen. The dead fish will be collected and dumped in a landfill. I imagine that it must be a horrible sight.
While it seems like a necessary step to remove the Asian carp from the system, I wonder if the disappearance of the other native fish in this canal will have any effects on the ecological system.