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Asian Carp

Essay by   •  March 26, 2012  •  Case Study  •  1,036 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,766 Views

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The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently began fighting an invasive fish called the Asian Carp. These fish are causing problems around the world destroying fishing industries and eco systems. There are four species of the fish, of the two the bighead and the silver carp are the closest to invading the great lakes. The bighead carp can grow up to one hundred pounds and the silver carp are known for jumping out of the water when frightened and scaring boaters. These fish pose a significant threat to the great lakes due to their large size and feeding habits. The bighead carp consume vast amounts of food and quickly dominate a water body. The Asian Carp were imported around the nineteen seventies and were used for aquaculture operations. Although some believe that the Asian Carp should be kept alive because they are rich in omega-3s and are now being served in restaurants, Asian carp should be removed or eliminated completely from the great lakes because they will decimate the billion dollar fishing industry in the Great Lakes, and permanently damage the ecosystem.

Some believe that the Asian Carp should be kept alive because of their nutritional value and their recent emergence in restaurants. It has recently been learned that the Asian Carp are rich in nutrients, more specifically the Omega-3. Omega-3s help promote normal body functions, good emotional health, weight loss, and lower chances of developing cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and black arteries. (Horng, 2010) According to a recent article in ABC news the fish have around seventy percent more Omega-3s than catfish and tilapia. (Horng, 2010) Restaurants serving freshwater fish are very intrigued with the idea of adding Asian Carp to the menu. Eating the carp is just another way of lowering the population, therefore, in a way those who favor saving the Asian Carp solely for the nutrients, are virtually providing another method to eliminate them.

Asian carp have recently been found in the Illinois River, which connects the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan. Due to their extremely large size and rapid rate of reproduction, these fish establish a significant risk to the Great Lakes Ecosystem. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, these fish are well acclimated to the climate which is similar to their native Asian habitat. The fish are veracious bottom feeders and eat forty percent of their body weight daily. ("Invasive species Asian," 2010) Obviously a fish that eats this vast amount of food will cause many problems, other fish in the Great lakes will not have enough food and will eventually become extinct. These fish will disrupt the entire Great lakes food chain, therefore causing problems in the entire ecosystem. As mentioned in an article written by the United States environmental protection agency, "The fear is that the carp will transform the Great Lakes ecosystem into something unrecognizable. One need only look at infested sections of the Illinois River, where federal environmental officials say that carp now comprise nine out of every 10 pounds of living material -- plant or animal -- found in the water." ("Invasive species Asian," 2010) The article also stated, "A single, electrified barrier, nicknamed the "fish



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