Researchers discover invasive fish in Great Lakes
A study just released by a Notre Dame professor found traces of an invasive fish, the Asian Carp, in the Great Lakes. It's news fisherman have feared for years.
Scientists say the Asian Carp has the potential to wreak havoc on the $7 billion fishing industry.
The professor found traces of the Asian Carp in Lake Erie as well as the Chicago area.
It's concerning because Asian Carp grow up to 100 pounds, leap out of the water and destroy habitats for other fish.
Sixteen year old Nick Peden has been fishing his entire life.
"Everybody up and down the lake, they're saying how bad it could be if it happened,” said Peden.
A team of researchers spent the last two years collecting more than 2,800 water samples along the great lakes basin.
Notre Dame professor and lead author Chris Jerde released the findings this week.
"You can think of them as like little tiny blue whales of fresh water,” said Jerde.
He says they discovered close to 60 positive hits for the carp in the Chigago area.
One in Lake Calumet and six in Lake Erie.
"Really the point of the study was to say here's where we found the Asian Carp DNA, here's where we didn't find the Asian Carp DNA and how does that relate to where we've actually historically captured fish,” said Jerde.
This discovery may influence the debate over sealing off Lake Michigan.
"The only thing they could probably do that would longer the effects of it is close off the river there in Chicago,” said Peden.
Jerde says infected tributaries and rivers may be more damaging than an entire lake.
"What the fish do in the Great Lakes once they get there is an experiment nobody wants to do. We've seen what they do in the Illinois River, we've seen what they've done in the Mississippi River,” said Jerde.
In December a court dismissed a case filed by five states seeking to seal off Lake Michigan.
The Army Corps of Engineers says it has an electric barrier outside of Chicago and it is keeping the fish out of Lake Michigan for now.