Something fishy

Invasion of the Asian eating machines: The state strikes back

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and five environmental groups threatened Wednesday to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to force it to temporarily shut three shipping locks near Chicago because of evidence that Asian carp may have breached the electrical barrier that is supposed to hold them back from the lakes. … The carp – which can grow to 4 feet long and 100 pounds and are known for leaping out of the water when boats are near – were imported by Southern fish farms but escaped into the Mississippi in large numbers during flooding in the 1990s and have been making their way northward ever since.

Will we ever stop importing critters from other continents? This is what happened with house sparrows and starlings in the 19th century, and now we can’t get rid of them, while native birds become less and less common*. House sparrows are relatively benign; they didn’t, say, cause chickens to starve and die. Asian carp could cause native Great Lakes fish to do just that.

The governor may even request the connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River systems be broken completely. They weren’t always connected, y’know, and making them connected fixed some issues, like reducing pollution in the Chicago River, but caused a few (wait for it) unforeseen circumstances. Reversing that situation may fix the carp problem temporarily, but what else would it do? Of course, people didn’t think of what unforeseen circumstances might result from importing Asian carp into Mississippi fish farms in the first place, either.

* I’m simplifying here, but it is a big reason you see a whole lot of house sparrows at feeders and not finches.


About songdogmi

I'm a longhaired almost-hippie stuck in the inner suburbs of a major rust-belt metropolis who's thoughtful, creative, and kind of geeky. In exchange for a paycheck I run around in a cubicle maze most days. When I escape, I play music, hang out in coffee houses, dink around on the computer, take naps, and think I should be off in the woods somewhere. Every once in a while I get in my car and drive far, far away, though I've always come back so far.
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