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Asian carp

Asian carp

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Many species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of heavy-bodied cyprinid
Cyprinid
The family Cyprinidae, from the Ancient Greek kyprînos , consists of the carps, the true minnows, and their relatives . Commonly called the carp family or the minnow family, its members are also known as cyprinids...

 fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 are collectively known in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 as Asian carp. Cyprinids from the subcontinent [for example, catla (Catla catla) and mrigal (Cirrhinus cirrhosus)] are not included in this classification, and are known collectively as "Indian carp
Indian Carp
Indian carp is a generic term used in aquaculture to refer to:*Catla catla*Cirrhinus cirrhosus*Labeo rohita...

".

Eight Asian carp have been substantially introduced outside of their native ranges:
  • grass carp
    Grass carp
    The grass carp is a herbivorous, freshwater fish species of family Cyprinidae, and the only species of the genus Ctenopharyngodon. It is cultivated in China for food, but was introduced in Europe and the United States for aquatic weed control...

     (Ctenopharyngodon idella)
  • common carp
    Common carp
    The Common carp is a widespread freshwater fish of eutrophic waters in lakes and large rivers in Europe and Asia. The wild populations are considered vulnerable to extinction, but the species has also been domesticated and introduced into environments worldwide, and is often considered an invasive...

     (Cyprinus carpio)
  • silver carp
    Silver carp
    The silver carp is a species of freshwater cyprinid fish, a variety of Asian carp native to north and northeast Asia. It is cultivated in China....

     (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix)
  • largescale silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys harmandi
    Hypophthalmichthys harmandi
    Hypophthalmichthys harmandi is a carp in genus Hypophthalmichthys....

    )
  • bighead carp
    Bighead carp
    The bighead carp is a freshwater fish, one of several Asian carps. It has a large, scaleless head, a large mouth, and eyes located very low on the head. Adults usually have a mottled silver-gray coloration. Adults can be quite large...

     (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis)
  • black carp
    Black carp
    The black carp is a species of cyprinid fish indigenous to China, and widely cultivated for food and Chinese medicine. It is the sole species of the genus Mylopharyngodon. The black carp grows to a length of up to three feet , and over 70 pounds , generally feeding on snails and mussels...

     (Mylopharyngodon piceus)
  • common goldfish
    Common goldfish
    Common goldfish or hibuna are a type of goldfish with no other modifications from their ancestors other than their colour. Most varieties of fancy goldfish were derived from this simple breed...

      (Carassius auratus)
  • crucian carp
    Crucian carp
    The crucian carp is a member of the family Cyprinidae, which includes many other fish, such as the common carp, or the smaller minnows. They inhabit lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers throughout Europe and Asia. The crucian is a medium-sized cyprinid, which rarely exceeds a weight of over 3.3...

     (Carassius carassius)
  • mud carp
    Mud Carp
    The mud carp is a species of ray-finned fish in the genus Cirrhinus....

     (Cirrhinus molitorella)


All the above, except largescale silver carp, have been cultivated in aquaculture
Aquaculture
Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the...

 in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 for over 1,000 years. Large-scale silver carp, a more southern species, is native to, and is cultivated in Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. Grass, silver, bighead and black carp are known as the "Four Domesticated Fish" in China and are the most important freshwater fish species for food and traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage , exercise , and dietary therapy...

. Bighead and silver carp are the most important fish, worldwide, in terms of total aquaculture production. Common carp
Common carp
The Common carp is a widespread freshwater fish of eutrophic waters in lakes and large rivers in Europe and Asia. The wild populations are considered vulnerable to extinction, but the species has also been domesticated and introduced into environments worldwide, and is often considered an invasive...

 and crucian carp
Crucian carp
The crucian carp is a member of the family Cyprinidae, which includes many other fish, such as the common carp, or the smaller minnows. They inhabit lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers throughout Europe and Asia. The crucian is a medium-sized cyprinid, which rarely exceeds a weight of over 3.3...

 are also common foodfishes in China and elsewhere. Goldfish
Goldfish
The goldfish is a freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae of order Cypriniformes. It was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated, and is one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish....

, on the other hand, are cultivated mainly as pet fish. Common carp are native to both Eastern Europe and Western Asia, so they are sometimes called a "Eurasian carp."

Jumping ability


Silver carp have become notorious for being easily frightened by boat
Boat
A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland or in protected coastal areas. However, boats such as the whaleboat were designed to be operated from a ship in an offshore environment. In naval terms, a boat is a...

s and personal watercraft, which causes them to leap high into the air. The fish can jump up to 2.5–3 m (8–10 feet) into the air, and numerous boaters have been injured by collisions with the fish. According to the EPA, "reported injuries include cuts from fins, black eyes, broken bones, back injuries, and concussions.". Silver carp can grow to 45 kg (100 pounds) in mass. This behavior has sometimes also been attributed to the very similar bighead carp, but this is uncommon. Bighead carp do not normally jump when frightened. Catching jumping carp in nets has become part of the Redneck Fishing Tournament, in Bath, Illinois
Bath, Illinois
Bath is a village in Mason County, Illinois, United States. The population was 310 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Bath is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of , all of it land....

.

In Chinese culture


There is a long tradition of carp in Chinese culture and literature. A popular lyric circulating as early as two thousand years ago in the late Han period includes an anecdote which relates how a man far away from home sent back to his wife a pair of carp , in which, when the wife opened the fish to cook, she found a silk strip that carried a love note of just two lines: “Eat well to keep fit” (first line) and “Missing you and forget me not” (second line).

The fish's jumping feature is set in such a proverbial idiom as "Liyu (Carp) jumps over the Dragon Gate ," an idiom that conveys a vivid image symbolizing a sudden uplifting in one's social status, as when one ascends into the upper society or has found favor with the royal or a noble family through success in civil examination or through marriage. This symbolic image, as well as the image of carp itself, has been one of the most popular themes in Chinese paintings, especially those of popular styles. The fish is usually colored in gold or pink, shimmering with an unmistakably auspicious tone. One of the well-known scenic spots in Hangzhou
Hangzhou
Hangzhou , formerly transliterated as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. Governed as a sub-provincial city, and as of 2010, its entire administrative division or prefecture had a registered population of 8.7 million people...

 is a big fish pond which has been alive with hundreds of carp of various colors. A three-character inscription, Yu-Le-Guo, meaning "fish’s paradise", set above one end of the pond, is the calligraphy of a famous gentry-scholar of the late Ming Dynasty named Dong Qichang . Many tourists feed the fish with bread crumbs.

Among the various kinds of carp, the silver carp is least expensive in China. The grass carp is still a main delicacy in Hangzhou cuisine. Restaurants along the West Lake of the city keep the fish in cages submerged in the lake water right in front of the restaurant; on an order from a customer, they will dash a live fish on the pavement to kill it before cooking. The fish is normally served with a sweet-and-sour sauce .

Invasive species in North America


A few bighead carp have been captured from Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

, but there is no evidence they have reproduced there. Another has recently been found in Lake Calumet
Lake Calumet
Lake Calumet is the largest body of water within the city of Chicago. Formerly a shallow, postglacial lake draining into Lake Michigan, it has been changed beyond recognition by industrial redevelopment and decay...

 in Illinois. Grass carp have been captured in every Great Lake except Lake Superior, but there is so far no evidence of a reproducing population, although a juvenile grass carp was caught in a river leading to Lake Scugog
Lake Scugog
Lake Scugog is an artificially flooded lake in Scugog Township between the town of Port Perry, Ontario and the town of Lindsay. The lake has been raised and lowered several times over its history. Though not technically part of the Kawarthas due to its shallow depths, it is often geographically...

. No silver carp or black carp have yet been found in any Great Lake. Common carp are abundant throughout the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

. Current records of where Asian carp have been captured may be found at the United States Geological Survey's
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

 Nonindigenous Aquatic Species website.

Because of their prominence, and because they were imported to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 much later than other carp native to Asia, the term "Asian carp" is often used in the United States with the intended meaning of only grass, black, silver, and bighead carp. In the U.S., Asian carp are considered to be an invasive species
Invasive species
"Invasive species", or invasive exotics, is a nomenclature term and categorization phrase used for flora and fauna, and for specific restoration-preservation processes in native habitats, with several definitions....

. Of the Asian carp introduced to the United States, only two (crucian and black carp) are not known to be firmly established. Crucian carp is probably extirpated
Local extinction
Local extinction, also known as extirpation, is the condition of a species which ceases to exist in the chosen geographic area of study, though it still exists elsewhere...

. However, since 2003, several adult, fertile black carp have been captured from the Atchafalaya and other rivers connected to the Mississippi River. Dr. Leo Nico, in the book Black carp: Biological Synopsis and Risk Assessment of an Introduced Fish, writes that black carp are likely established in the United States. In South Florida, the local water management district actually stocks the canals with sterilized grass carp to control the hydrilla
Hydrilla
Hydrilla is an aquatic plant genus, usually treated as containing just one species, Hydrilla verticillata, though some botanists divide it into several species. Synonyms include H. asiatica, H. japonica, H. lithuanica, and H. ovalifolica...

 plant, which tends to block the locks and drainage valves used to control water flow from the Everglades
Everglades
The Everglades are subtropical wetlands in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Florida, comprising the southern half of a large watershed. The system begins near Orlando with the Kissimmee River, which discharges into the vast but shallow Lake Okeechobee...

.

Bighead, silver, and grass carp are known to be well-established in the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 basin (including tributaries) of the United States, where they at times reach extremely high abundances, especially in the case of the bighead and silver carp. Bighead, silver, and grass carp have been captured in that watershed from Louisiana to South Dakota, Minnesota, and Ohio. Grass carp are also established in at least one other watershed, in Texas, and may be established elsewhere.

These fish are thought to be highly detrimental to the environment in parts of the United States. Because of these concerns, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service convened stakeholders to develop a national plan for the management and control of invasive Asian carp (referring to bighead, silver, black and grass carp). The plan was accepted by the National Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force in the fall of 2007.

In July, 2007, all silver carp and largescale silver carp were declared by the U.S. Department of the Interior to be invasive species under the Lacey Act
Lacey Act
The Lacey Act of 1900, or more commonly The Lacey Act is a conservation law introduced by Iowa Rep. John F. Lacey. Protecting both plants and wildlife by creating civil and criminal penalties for a wide array of violations, the Act most notably prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that...

.

The common carp was brought to the U.S. in 1831, and has been widespread for a long time. In the late 19th century, they were distributed widely throughout the United States by the government as a foodfish. However, common carp are now not normally prized as a foodfish in the United States. They are often known to uproot vegetation and muddy water through their habit of rooting in the mud for food. They are thought to often have detrimental effects on native species. However, common carp are prized in Europe as a sportfish, and angling for common carp is enjoying increased popularity in the United States.

The rise in the populations of bighead and silver carp has been dramatic where they are established in the Mississippi River basin. Although many sources cite the record floods of the 1990s as the means by which Asian carp escaped aquaculture ponds into the Mississippi River, this is apocryphal. There is at least one known escape of bighead carp from aquaculture ponds in 1995, but bighead and silver carp were established in the Mississippi River basin prior to 1990. Grass carp have been reproducing in the Mississippi River since the 1970s.

Bighead and silver carp feed by filtering plankton from the water. The extremely high abundance of bighead and silver carp has caused great concern because of the potential for competition with native species for food and living space. Because of their filter-feeding habits, they are difficult to capture by normal angling methods.

In Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has evaluated the risk of Asian carp invading Canadian waters, particularly the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

, either by introduction from the Mississippi or through the market in live carp. A few bighead and grass carp have been captured in Canada's portions of the Great Lakes, but no Asian carp (other than common carp, an originally Eurasian species) is known to be established in Canada at this time. There are concerns the silver carp may spread into Cypress Hills
Cypress Hills
The Cypress Hills are a region of hills in southwestern Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta, Canada.The highest point in Saskatchewan at is located at Lookout Point in the Cypress Hills.-Name:...

 in Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

 and Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

 through Battle Creek (Milk River)
Battle Creek (Milk River)
Battle Creek is a stream that begins in southeastern Alberta along the border with Saskatchewan, in the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.It flows into the Milk River in Blaine County, Montana...

, the Frenchman River
Frenchman River
Frenchman River, or Frenchman Creek, is a river in Saskatchewan, Canada and Montana, United States. It is a tributary of the Milk River, itself a tributary of the Missouri.The river is approximately long....

 and other rivers flowing south out of the hills into the Milk River
Milk River
-Rivers:Canada and the United States*The Milk River , a tributary of the upper Fraser River in Canada*The Milk River , United States*The Milk River , a tributary of the Missouri RiverJamaica*The Milk River...

. In Mexico, grass carp have been established for many years in at least two river systems, where they are considered invasive, but no other Asian carp are known to have been introduced.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 is also concerned about the possibility of Asian carp migrating to the Great Lakes. In 2002, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
United States Army Corps of Engineers
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and a major Army command made up of some 38,000 civilian and military personnel, making it the world's largest public engineering, design and construction management agency...

 completed an electric fish barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, historically known as the Chicago Drainage Canal, is the only shipping link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River system, by way of the Illinois and Des Plaines Rivers...

, the only navigable aquatic link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River drainage basins. The initial fish barrier was used as a demonstration project to study the design's effectiveness. Following positive results, construction began on a second, permanent barrier in 2004. In addition to the canal, the Corp has identified 18 sites in five additional states, from Minnesota to New York, that could allow for movement of Mississippi basin carp into the Great Lakes.

U.S. Representative Dave Camp from Michigan's 4th district
Michigan's 4th congressional district
Michigan's 4th congressional district is a United States Congressional district that currently includes portions of Northern and Central Michigan, consisting of all of...

 and Senator Debbie Stabenow
Debbie Stabenow
Deborah Ann Greer "Debbie" Stabenow is the junior United States Senator from Michigan and a member of the Democratic Party. Before her election to the U.S. Senate, she was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Michigan's 8th congressional district from 1997 to 2001...

 of Michigan introduced the Close All Routes and Prevent Asian Carp Today (CARPACT), which directs the Army Corps of Engineers to take action to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

, which is estimated to cost more than $30 million in 2010. The act will make sure the locks and sluice gates at the O’Brien Lock and Dam and the Chicago Controlling Works are closed and remain closed until a better strategy is developed. The act will also enhance existing barriers and monitoring systems by giving authority to the Army Corps of Engineers to obtain real estate necessary for the construction and maintenance of the barrier. The Corps also has the authority to eliminate and prevent the spread of the carp by using fish toxicants, commercial fishing and netting, and harvesting.

In November, 2009, carp genetic material was detected beyond the two electric barriers, leaving only a single lock/dam on the Calumet River between the detected presence and Lake Michigan. "This is absolutely an emergency", Joel Brammeier, acting president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes
Alliance for the Great Lakes
The Alliance for the Great Lakes was originally founded in 1970 by Lee Botts as the Lake Michigan Federation, which Botts had established a year earlier as a project of The Openlands Project in Chicago. The purpose of the Lake Michigan Federation was to promote awareness and policy to protect and...

, was quoted as saying, referring to the ecological threat, and also mentioning the threat to recreational boaters. "Mr. Brammeier and some others called for the immediate closing of the lock ... though others doubted it was feasible to stop shipping traffic [there]." "All options are on the table", said Jacqueline Y. Ashmon, a spokeswoman for the Corps of Engineers. "We don’t have any specifics."

In the first week of December, 2009, the Army Corps made plans to shut down one of the electric barriers for maintenance, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is a cabinet-level department of the state government of Illinois. It is headquartered in the state capital of Springfield...

 responded by dumping 2,200 gallons of the toxin rotenone
Rotenone
Rotenone is an odorless chemical that is used as a broad-spectrum insecticide, piscicide, and pesticide. It occurs naturally in the roots and stems of several plants such as the jicama vine plant...

 into the canal. Rotenone, the report said, is deadly for fish, but not harmful to humans, animals or most other aquatic life. While "scores" of fish were killed, only one carp was found, near Lockport Lock and Dam and nearly six miles below the electronic barriers. The fish kill cost $3 million and produced 90 tons of dead fish, reported one commentator, who also noted a parallel with an intentional fish kill in Chicago, in Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park is an urban park in Chicago, which gave its name to the Lincoln Park, Chicago community area.Lincoln Park may also refer to:-Urban parks:*Lincoln Park , California*Lincoln Park, San Francisco, California...

's South Pond, by the IDNR in November, 2008.

Other efforts to reduce the number of Asian carp have included encouraging the public to eat more carp and fisheries shipping the fish to other markets, such as Israel, and have included the participation of then Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Hillary Clinton.

On June 22, 2010, a 19-pound Asian carp was found near the shore of Lake Michigan, in Lake Calumet
Lake Calumet
Lake Calumet is the largest body of water within the city of Chicago. Formerly a shallow, postglacial lake draining into Lake Michigan, it has been changed beyond recognition by industrial redevelopment and decay...

, about six miles downstream from Lake Michigan, by a commercial fisherman hired by the state of Illinois to do routine fish sampling in the area. The fish confirms DNA evidence that Asian carp have indeed breached the electric fish barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

On August 24, 2010, a carp reportedly knocked a kayaker out of competition in a Missouri River
Missouri River
The Missouri River flows through the central United States, and is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is the longest river in North America and drains the third largest area, though only the thirteenth largest by discharge. The Missouri's watershed encompasses most of the American Great...

 race at Lexington
Lexington, Missouri
Lexington is a city in Lafayette County, Missouri, United States. The population was 4,453 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Lafayette County. Located in western Missouri, Lexington lies about 40 miles east of Kansas City and is part of the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area...

 in western Missouri.

On September 8, 2010, the Council on Environmental Quality
Council on Environmental Quality
The Council on Environmental Quality is a division of the Executive Office of the President that coordinates federal environmental efforts in the United States and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental and energy policies and initiatives...

 announced the appointment of John Goss as the Asian Carp Director. Goss' role is primarily to serve as the principal advisor to the CEQ's chair, Nancy Sutley
Nancy Sutley
Nancy Helen Sutley leads the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She was confirmed by the United States Senate through unanimous consent January 22, 2009. In her role as chair, she serves as the principal environmental policy advisor to the president...

 on Asian carp issues, and oversee federal, state, and local coordination on Asian carp control efforts. Goss was previously executive director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation (a state affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation
National Wildlife Federation
The National Wildlife Federation is the United States' largest private, nonprofit conservation education and advocacy organization, with over four million members and supporters, and 48 state and territorial affiliated organizations...

), director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is the agency of the U.S. state of Indiana charged with maintaining natural areas such as state parks, state forests, recreation areas, etc...

, and vice-chairman of the Great Lakes Commission
Great Lakes Commission
The Great Lakes Commission is a United States interstate agency established in 1955 through the Great Lakes Compact, in order to "promote the orderly, integrated and comprehensive development, use and conservation of the water resources of the Great Lakes Basin," which includes the Saint Lawrence...

.

2009-2010 litigation


On December 21, 2009, Michigan Attorney General
Michigan Attorney General
The Attorney General of Michigan is the fourth-ranking official in the U.S. state of Michigan and one of four great offices of state. The officeholder is elected statewide in the November general election alongside the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, members of the Senate and...

 Mike Cox
Mike Cox
Mike Cox was Michigan's 52nd Attorney General; the first Republican to hold that office since 1955. Cox took office in 2003 and won re-election in 2006. Michigan Governor Jennifer M...

 filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 seeking the immediate closure of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, historically known as the Chicago Drainage Canal, is the only shipping link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River system, by way of the Illinois and Des Plaines Rivers...

 to keep the Asian carp out of Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

. Neighboring Great Lakes states and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which constructed the Canal, are co-defendants in the lawsuit.

In response to the Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 lawsuit, on January 5, 2010, Illinois AG
Illinois Attorney General
The Illinois Attorney General is the highest legal officer of the state of Illinois in the United States. Originally an appointed office, it is now an office filled by election through universal suffrage...

 Lisa Madigan
Lisa Madigan
Lisa Madigan has been the 41st Attorney General of the US state of Illinois since 2003, when she became the first female attorney general for Illinois...

 filed a counter-suit with the Supreme Court, requesting it to reject Michigan's claims. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce
Illinois Chamber of Commerce
Illinois Chamber of Commerce , or The Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, is a state lobbying group representing the interests of many businesses of all sizes across the state of Illinois. It is not a government agency, but a non-profit membership business advocacy organization.The Chamber is...

 and American Waterways Operators
American Waterways Operators
The American Waterways Operators, is the national trade association for the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry.For more than 60 years AWO has promoted the contribution of the domestic waterways transportation industry to the U.S. economy. AWO acts as the principal advocate for the U.S....

 both sided with Illinois in the lawsuit, filing affidavit
Affidavit
An affidavit is a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by an affiant or deponent under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law. Such statement is witnessed as to the authenticity of the affiant's signature by a taker of oaths, such as a notary public...

s (amicus briefs) and arguing that closing the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal would upset the movement of millions of tons of vital shipments of iron ore, coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

 and other cargo
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

, totaling more than $1.5 billion a year, and contribute to the loss of hundreds, perhaps thousands of jobs. In response, Michigan noted the value of the sport fishing and recreation industry, already heavily affected in other states with large carp populations, would drop by more than $3.0 billion and result in the loss of at least 4,000 jobs. President Obama and his administration supported Illinois's efforts to keep the canal open; with the support of USGS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, reports have consistently denied the Asian carp poses a threat.

On January 19, 2010 the Supreme Court rejected the Michigan injunction request, but took no action on Michigan's separate request to reopen older cases regarding Chicago water withdrawal from Lake Michigan. The litigation proceeds in lower courts.

On January 1, 2010 the Ontario government also filed a lawsuit (alongside the American states) in an American court to stop the dumping of Asian carp into the Great Lakes, a potentially damaging act to the fishing industry (of Canada).

As food


Asian carp have been a popular food fish in Asia for thousands of years. However, many people in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 associate the term carp with common carp
Common carp
The Common carp is a widespread freshwater fish of eutrophic waters in lakes and large rivers in Europe and Asia. The wild populations are considered vulnerable to extinction, but the species has also been domesticated and introduced into environments worldwide, and is often considered an invasive...

, an unrelated bottom-feeding, worse-tasting fish that was introduced from Eurasia much earlier.

The pearly white flesh - complicated by a series of bones - is said to taste like cod
Cod
Cod is the common name for genus Gadus, belonging to the family Gadidae, and is also used in the common name for various other fishes. Cod is a popular food with a mild flavor, low fat content and a dense, flaky white flesh. Cod livers are processed to make cod liver oil, an important source of...

 or described as tasting like a cross between scallop
Scallop
A scallop is a marine bivalve mollusk of the family Pectinidae. Scallops are a cosmopolitan family, found in all of the world's oceans. Many scallops are highly prized as a food source...

s and crab
Crab
True crabs are decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura, which typically have a very short projecting "tail" , or where the reduced abdomen is entirely hidden under the thorax...

meat. They are low in mercury because they do not eat other fish. To make the fish more appealing to American consumers, the fish have been renamed
Culinary name
Culinary names, menu names, or kitchen names are names of foods used in the preparation or selling of food, as opposed to their names in agriculture or in scientific nomenclature. The menu name may even be different from the kitchen name...

 silverfin or Kentucky tuna. Volunteer efforts to increase the popularity further include making and selling fish cakes and using the entrails to make fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

. Carp caviar
Caviar
Caviar, sometimes called black caviar, is a luxury delicacy, consisting of processed, salted, non-fertilized sturgeon roe. The roe can be "fresh" or pasteurized, the latter having much less culinary and economic value....

 is also increasing in popularity and is an alternative to further endangering sturgeon
Sturgeon
Sturgeon is the common name used for some 26 species of fish in the family Acipenseridae, including the genera Acipenser, Huso, Scaphirhynchus and Pseudoscaphirhynchus. The term includes over 20 species commonly referred to as sturgeon and several closely related species that have distinct common...

.

External links

  • Species Profile- Asian Carp, National Invasive Species Information Center, United States National Agricultural Library
    United States National Agricultural Library
    The United States National Agricultural Library is one of the world's largest agricultural research libraries, and serves as a National Library of the United States and as the library of the United States Department of Agriculture...

    . Lists general information and resources for Asian carp.
  • WWW.nonspecializing.com Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
  • Carp Tools Spatial Tool Spatial query tool for Asian carp in the Mississippi River drainage
  • David W. Harper, Carp Beginning to Heavily populate Lake Michigan. 4' - 10' Chicago Breaking News 04/10 http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/01/supreme-court-wont-rule-on-asian-carp-suit.html
  • Jumping Carp video A video of two fishermen encountering a very large number of jumping Asian Carp on the Wabash River in Indiana.
  • Invasion Alert: Canada and the U.S. must keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes — and Lake Simcoe. By Wil Wegman, Lake Simcoe Living Magazine, Winter 2010/2011, page 19. http://lakesimcoeliving.com/lslmag/winter-2010/index.html
  • The Advancing Threat of Asian Carp | KeepAmericaFishing™