‘U’ Hosts Conference On Stopping Asian Carp Spread

By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The University of Minnesota was the site Thursday for a national conference on Asian carp.

The monster fish can weigh up to 100 pounds and are known for jumping out of the water if they’re disturbed.

The species has continued to make it closer to Minnesota after escaping fish farms in the south more than 20 years ago.

Video captured by WCCO-TV in 2010 in Havana, Illinois shows the danger. It shows the carp flying out of the water. The fish has seriously injured boaters and fishermen.

Another threat to lakes is the fact that the carp eat the same plants as native game fish. The fear is that the carp could eliminate entire native species like walleye, perch and small mouth bass. For the first time the white house has appointed an Asian carp director, John Goss.

Goss said the Asian carp have devastated native species in his home state of Indiana.

“In this case we are drawing a line. We are saying we’re not going to let them in and we are doing anything we can to make sure they do not get into the Great Lakes,” said Goss.

Experts believe if the carp made it to the Great Lakes or Minnesota waterways they would be impossible to eliminate. The carp can live 27 years and a female can lay 5 million eggs in one year.

Right now two electrical barriers near Chicago are the only thing keeping the carp from entering the Great Lakes chain. A third barrier is about to be installed there and a similar barrier has been discussed for just south of the Twin Cities. The estimated cost of that would be $5 million, but that is still in the planning stages.

The federal government is also studying research that would reduce existing populations by limiting breeding opportunities

“Another way to not allow a species to takeover is to deny it an area to spawn,” said Lt. Col David Berczek.

The only Asian carp ever found in Minnesota waters was found in Lake Pepin, located 60 miles south of the Twin Cities in 2003.

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