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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.

Stepping up the fight against Asian Carp

Asian Carp
Kate Gardiner
Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK
Asian carp at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago

Federal and state officials have a new plan for dealing with the threat of Asian Carp invading Lake Michigan.    There are fears that the carp may destroy the Great Lakes fishing industry. 

The plan includes stepping up tracking of the invasive fish species and contracting with Illinois fishermen to catch the carp before they can reach Lake Michigan.

Charles Wooley is with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “It’s primarily located downstream of the Army Corps of Engineers electrical barrier, which is built to keep Asian Carp from moving up this waterway system."  

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow says the best way to prevent Asian Carp from reaching Lake Michigan is to close man-made canals linking the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River.

"While the measures announced today are critically important in the short-term, the only way to fully protect our Great Lakes from Asian carp is to permanently separate the Mississippi River basin from Lake Michigan. We don't have time to lose. We need a comprehensive action plan to stop Asian carp permanently and we need it now.”

Illinois business interests and politicians are opposed to closing the canals.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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