Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Asian Carp goes to Supreme Court




This video is good too.

Growing up about 30 minutes from Lake Michigan’s waterfront I can remember fishing with my parents and brother, but now realities like that is endangered. The Asian Carp is a very invasive species.  It has been spreading through the fresh water systems of the Midwest very rapidly due to a high reproduction rate and a readily available food source provided by the rivers. The Asian Carp eats at a much faster rate than native species and eats more aggressively causing food shortages in the ecosystem. These fish have a larger growth capacity as well limiting the natural predators. The entire great lakes ecosystem hangs in the balance of whether the Asian Carp can make it through the barriers protecting Chicago’s narrow smaller water ways with the Illinois River. The Illinois River which many should recognize has been completely taken over by these fish and consequently the native fish population has dwindled. 

At this point the question becomes how is this a Criminal Justice issue? Basically the States are having a constant war of lawsuits and appeals to higher courts because of this ecological disaster. An example of this was the reported remains of one of these fish making it into a water treatment plant in the last year closer to Chicago than ever before. In order to keep the fish out the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have emplaced electric current  in the water to deter the fish as well as a maze of tributaries and locks. According to CNN.com “Among those being sued are Chicago's local water reclamation agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which helped build the canal system and helps maintain it. Illinois officials say other states and the federal courts do not have the legal authority to order the closing of any federally approved water management project.” Closing down these locks though would severely cripple local fishing industries. The situation becomes more complex as Multiple States surrounding Illinois sued in the 1920’s to ensure that the project to reversing the Chicago River would end. The Chicago River was reversed to relieve the pressure of the growing concern of sewage treatment and effectively connected the Mississippi River to the Chicago River and created the water system that would allow the Carp to migrate north. The Supreme Court established mitigating effects on the project and ruled against Illinois. Since the recent exposure of migrating Asian Carps the surrounding States have asked to reopen the case to have Illinois and the Federal Government more responsible for this problem. 

As an Illinois resident and occasional Lake Michigan fisherman I do believe that stronger defenses are needed to stop this invasion, however with the State being so tight with money and growing concerns for the economy how important is this issue? Does the Federal government have the right to impose its will on Illinois if the Supreme Court takes the Appeal and rules in favor of the other states?

7 comments:

  1. I use to duck hunt near Havana, Illinois several years ago. It literally got to the point, that we would need to wear motorcycle helmets to our duck blinds due to the Asian Carp. The fish jumps out of the water with the slightest vibrations in the water. It was really an amazing sight to see the fish jumping 10-15 feet out of the water.
    Last year, my buddies and I took a trip over there to go bow fishing and shoot the Asian Carp out of the water. It was a ton of fun, but a total mess. The fish is one of the nastiest, slimiest, smelliest fish I have ever caught. I have heard that there is a demand for the fish in the Asian market and attempts are being made to harvest the fish and send them to Asia. Hopefully, this can help slow down this terribly invasive species.

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  2. I enjoyed reading this article and had no idea that it was such a serious problem. At first I wasn't too sure how you were going to incorporate this with criminal justice but then you did and I agree. I think that Illinois should take a stronger defense and stop this dangerous breed of fish from taking over and hurting our economy even more.

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  3. I feel that Illinois must do whatever it takes to protect the Great Lakes. If they must shut done the canal and lose out on millions of dollars, so be it. These Asian Carp will possibly destroy the ecosystem. These fish are killing off species. They are committing Genocide to the world of the water. So far it seems that the electrical fence that was built is very beneficial. However according to the video, these fish can jump extremely high and make be able to clear the fence. If this happens, an industry will be destroyed. My advice would be to eliminate the fish entirely so the ecosystem would survive.

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  4. I agree with the general consensus that this species of fish is terribly invasive and harmful to other species. There isn't much use for them in this area as I've heard many people say they are not very good to eat. There are two interesting decisions to take here I think. Do we play God and take the effort to drastically reduce this species' population, or do we let the fittest survive? I think in this case it is necessary that we do something to effectively eradicate this fish. They are just too destructive in their ecosystem to let them go in my opinion because they are slowly but surely knocking off other species numbers which can impact many things for us humans.
    I know of a man who had a speed boat on the Illinois river a few years back. He was struck unconscious by an Asian carp that jumped out of the water. Scary stuff.

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  5. I feel the Asian Carp problem has been going on for quite some time yet nothing seems to be changing. While actions have been taken, nothing has clearly been drastic enough since the problem is only increasing. I feel it is very important to protect the ecosystem. I feel that if other states chipped in to help cover part of the cost for closing the canal (and by doing so we help protect their rivers/water sources) it might minimize the cost and people might not be so hesitant to do so. I have also heard of fishermen and other volunteers who will go fishing strictly just to catch these invaders. However, it is evident that more action needs to be taken to protect the ecosystem.

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