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Andy Soergel and Shawn Swaney.  We are environmentalists examining the origins of the Asian Carp dilemma and weighing the pros and cons of potential.

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Presentation on theme: "Andy Soergel and Shawn Swaney.  We are environmentalists examining the origins of the Asian Carp dilemma and weighing the pros and cons of potential."— Presentation transcript:

1 Andy Soergel and Shawn Swaney

2  We are environmentalists examining the origins of the Asian Carp dilemma and weighing the pros and cons of potential solutions, hoping to solidify a plan that could be proposed to Congress.

3  Fish can break bones!  Video shows a man with a black eye and broken nose from a jumping carp  Families commonly go to the Great Lakes, so these dangerous fish could seriously diminish tourist profits as well  jQaU&feature=related jQaU&feature=related

4  Silver and bighead carp in particular aggressively feed on plankton  This is helpful to aquaculture, as carp eat many types of plankton and phytoplankton that cause algal blooms  Believed to have originally escaped in aquaculture farms in Arkansas during intense flooding

5  The fish used in these ponds often escape through flooding, or, in the case of some carp, jumping  New outdoor aquaculture ponds are being developed, which could involve the import of even more of an already invasive species

6  Rising temperatures also means suitability for native fish is moving northward  Suitable rivers for warmwater fish are expected to rise by 31% across the US  This means an estimated 19 fish species will invade the lower Great Lakes and another 8 lower Great Lakes species will invade the upper Great Lakes

7  Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) were brought to the United States from Europe around 1831, mostly to be placed in private ponds.  Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) were imported from Asia around 1963 to help control plant quality in aquaculture ponds  Found in the Missisippi River near Illinois in 1971  Silver carp (Hypophthal- michthys molotrix) and bighead carp (H. nobilis) were imported from China to help manage algal blooms and water quality in ponds in 1973  Found in Mississippi River near Illinois around 1982  Many more of these carp escaped during the Great Mississippi Floods of 1993

8  These fish breed rapidly and quickly spread in a waterway  They threaten to starve native species to the Illinois River, Mississippi River, and Great Lakes  Plankton-eating species like the gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) and bigmouth buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus) at risk  They also threaten to disrupt food chains and food webs from a micro- to macroscopic level

9  Lake Michigan should theoretically lack sufficient plankton to support long-term carp populations  However, because the average water temperature of Lake Michigan rarely exceeds 20˚C, the fish can maintain their body mass on the present plankton supplies over a 30-day period.  Over 30 days in 20˚C water, the average carp can travel over 40km, easily accessing other waterways with higher concentrations of plankton

10  The Great Lakes annually provides about $7 billion to the US economy in fishing-related profits  This could be HUGELY affected by the invasive carp



13  The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers completed an electric fence in 2006 to combat the fish  Cost $9 million  This barrier is also potentially harmful to other fish life, not just carp  It isn’t actually working very well…  Safety for humans was inconclusive; this could be a big problem if someone fell in the water in the middle of the barrier  There are now three of these fences set up around Chicago

14  These toxins, used to repel fish during fence maintenance, cost over $3 million and take 2 weeks to clean up  In 2009, this effort killed 200,000 pounds of fish, of which only one pound was Asian carp.  Did they get all the toxins? Aren’t we eating other fish from these rivers?


16  Build more fences?  Build a dam?  Close off Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal?  Eat all of them?  Do nothing?

17  We already know what we’re doing  We’re stopping most of the fish already  One of the least expensive solutions  The government and the US Army Corps of Engineers both support this move

18  Fish smaller than 6 inches in length can still get through  Disrupting non-carp fish patterns  The maintenance and toxin use is risky  Boats and other crafts are getting shocked, which is bad for the electronics on board  The shocks could be potentially harmful to humans and other species  Is shocking and stunning/paralyzing fish unethical?

19  A flood-control dam could limit fish entering the Great Lakes  Provides extra water supply  Flood control in Chicago currently dumps floodwater into Lake Michigan  If the fish get much closer, this water disposal method could dump carp caught in the water into the Great Lakes ▪ A flood-control dam could prevent this

20  The Great Lakes are right there; no one needs an extra water supply  Would severely alter downstream activity of the Illinois  Would negatively impact the ecological integrity of the region about as much as an unrestrained carp population  Sediment build-up  $$$$$$ Second most expensive solution  Impractical  In the time it takes to construct a dam, the fish could already penetrate the electric barrier and make it to Lake Michigan  The Army Corps has identified over a dozen waterways through which carp can get to the Great Lakes other than up the Illinois River, so this could be useless

21  The Des Plaines River runs just parallel to the Illinois (only yards apart in some places)  Flooding often causes the fish species of each river to inter-mix  If the carp get far enough North along the Illinois River, it is only a matter of time before they spread to Des Plaines and literally around the electric barrier, into Lake Michigan  So damming one water way could be a total waste

22  This is the most reliable way to completely avoid the carp from entering the Great Lakes  There would be relatively few environmental repercussions  The fish could be isolated and dealt with more effectively  Returns Great Lakes to original ecological integrity before the canal was built

23  This waterway is currently the only channel connecting the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Lawrence Seaway  Every year, over a million tons of goods travel through the this waterway; closing the canal could result in huge losses in the trading industry  Lots of trade comes through this region that would need to reroute; more expensive to trade and ship items  Can the government justify spending so much money and then losing money in the trade industry?  Four consecutive Supreme Court decisions go against this drastic action

24  The US Supreme Court has voted to stay out of the fish fray on four separate occasions  Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania requested that the Army Corps of Engineers install two nets in Chicago rivers to cut fish off while the Canal was filled ▪ Denied; too drastic, expensive, and time consuming (two decades!)  This would lead to a permanent solution that would involve closing off the manmade Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which connects Canadian waterways with the Mississippi River and eventually the Gulf of Mexico

25  Costs from $3 billion at the very cheapest and least environmentally friendly to around $9.5 billion  Taxpayer dollars and government funds would subsidize this project  The aforementioned lawsuit of the five states vs. the Army Corps is still pending a ruling in a federal district court, but prospects are not great

26  Fish would become much less expensive if we utilized this resource to its fullest  85% of fish in the United States are imported, which raises costs  Carp are healthy and would help with nutritionally sound diets  Least expensive alternative  Creates jobs for fishermen  Least environmentally invasive

27  Name of a chain of Asian Carp merchants, not the actual solution  Chef Philippe Parola insists he has found a way to make the fish both delicious and incredibly profitable  Chinese consider the fish a delicacy, so they are actually surprised we are not eating these fish up  “Chinese ‘foodies’ must join battle and rescue the Americans! The Obama Administration will reimburse you for eating steamed fish head with chopped peppers.” –Tweet from Chinese media executive

28  Fish are described as bloody and bony  Many people do not feel that they taste very good  If toxins are being used to regulate these fish, do we really want to eat them in excess?  There isn’t enough time or resources to get ALL of these fish and keep them from entering the Great Lakes  This is not a viable long-term solution  Overfishing along Great Lakes tributaries does not necessarily guarantee that only Asian Carp will get picked up in nets  Native species could be adversely impacted/overfished

29  We don’t pay anything  Streams across America have jumping, semi- dangerous fish

30  Great Lakes are invaded  The $7 billion fishing industry in the Great Lakes is compromised  The carp take out the Great Lakes food web at its ankles, eating all the plankton and phytoplankton and overcrowding the native species  The carp invade other Great Lakes tributaries, spreading the carp problem to other waterways  “A failure to address the exotic species problem will likely result in more introductions and potential harmful effects to native biota.” –USGS Asian Carp Analysis

31  Most economically-sound solution while keeping the environment in mind:  Maintain the electric fences  Best decision for the environment:  Closing the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal  Most likely solution in 2012:  Maintain the electric fences and wait to see what the Army Corps reports in 2014  Our personal favorite:  Everyone eat carp!

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