Sajjad Lateef wrote:
> Two articles from the Chicago Tribune. The article quotes
> Kurt Hettinger, Shedd Aquarium biologies and a NANFA member.
> Copied here under "fair use" justification.
> Anyone eat carp? Is it any good? If it is, then I'll
> take up carp fishing (corn for bait, cane pole and
> 20lb line, right?) :)
> Voracious carp discovered in city lagoon
> Giant carp ready to eat way through Great Lakes
> July 18, 2002
> Tribune staff reports
> Published June 10, 2003, 3:15 PM CDT
> A Chicago fisherman's catch from a park district lagoon has alarmed
> wildlife officials, who fear the spread of a voracious species of carp
> into Lake Michigan.
> Sam Pena pulled the 38-pound fish Monday from the pond at McKinley
> Park, a Southwest Side park at Pershing Road and Damen Avenue,
> authorities said. State wildlife officials inspected the fish and
> confirmed it was an Asian bighead carp, a fish that can grow to 100
> pounds as it consumes everything in its path.
> It was unknown how the fish could have gotten into the park lagoon.
> Though it is only a few blocks south of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship
> Canal, the pond is not physically connected to the waterway.
> City officials today reminded the public the City Council in April
> banned the release of any live carp into city waterways, and made it
> illegal to import, sell, transport or keep the fish. Violators could
> face up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
> Anyone who catches a Asian bighead or sees someone releasing the fish
> into area lakes and ponds was urged to call the city's 311 public
> services number.
> Scientists have warned the species could devastate the Great Lakes
> ecosystem, devouring food supplies of other species, if it ever got
> into Lake Michigan. The fish also is known to hurl itself over and into
> boats, leading to reports of neck injuries, broken noses and bruises
> among boaters.
> The Asian bighead, a foreign import, escaped from an Arkansas fish farm
> into the Mississippi River watershed in 1990s and has been spotted
> within 55 miles of Lake Michigan. Officials have proposed creating a
> fish barrier in the Sanitary and Ship Canal and the Cal-Sag Channel,
> which connect the lake with the Mississippi.
> WGN-Ch. 9 and Tribune wires contributed to this story.
> Naturalists fear bighead carp is not alone
> How 38-pounder got here a mystery
> Giant carp ready to eat way through Great Lakes
> July 18, 2002
> By Mindy Hagen
> Tribune staff reporter
> Published June 11, 2003
> Illinois wildlife officials will scour the McKinley Park lagoon to
> determine if more Asian bighead carp lurk where a hulking specimen of
> the invasive species was caught last week.
> State and federal agencies have spent millions of dollars attempting to
> keep the destructive fish out of the Great Lakes--but were caught off
> guard when a local angler reeled in a 38-pound carp last Thursday in
> the pond, at Pershing Road and Damen Avenue.
> Samuel Pena said he instantly realized his catch was not your typical
> bass. After taking the fish home, Pena brought it to Henry's Sports and
> Bait Shop, 3130 S. Canal St., where he buys nightcrawlers as bait. The
> shop's owners--who still have the fish in a freezer and are showing it
> to an increasing parade of visitors--called the Illinois Department of
> Natural Resources. Officials identified the catch as an Asian bighead
> carp on Friday morning.
> "When I caught it, I saw the scales and the eyes peering down and I
> knew it looked deformed," said Pena, 42. "I hope there are no more in
> this lagoon. If so, I'll jump in and swim and get them out myself."
> But John Fogner, field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
> Service office in Barrington, said state agencies concerned about the
> carp entering Lake Michigan and decimating the ecosystem will conduct
> their own investigation.
> Fogner said the DNR wants to know how Pena's fish entered the enclosed
> lagoon--and if other Asian bighead carp also are present in the
> picturesque pond.
> "There's no question it was placed in there by someone," Fogner said.
> "It could be a single isolated fish or there could be many in there.
> State agencies need to make a decision whether that lagoon has to be
> rehabilitated or not."
> The Asian bighead carp are viewed as a menace because they prey on
> organisms at the bottom of the food chain, wreaking havoc on the diets
> of other predators. The species, whose taste is likened to tuna, was
> imported by catfish farmers in Arkansas and moved into the Mississippi
> River during flooding in the 1990s.
> It has since migrated into the Illinois River. Environmentalists hope
> an underwater electric field installed by the Army Corps of Engineers
> in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal at Romeoville will prevent the
> fish from coming closer to Lake Michigan. A $7 million permanent
> electrical barrier, aimed at stunning the carp as they approach, is
> slated to be complete in 2004, Fogner said.
> "The electronic barrier is still a good idea because any effort that
> can be made to curb these animals from coming in and harming the
> ecosystem is great," said Kurt Hettigerof the Shedd Aquarium. "But it's
> always on your mind that anyone could just drop one of these fish into
> a body of water."
> As for rooting out the carp in the lagoon, Hettiger said officials
> might decide to use chemicals to kill all of the pond's fish species.
> One person opposed to that idea is Lulu Washington, a retired South
> Side resident who fishes at McKinley Park three to four times a week.
> Washington, who calls herself "the fish lady," reeled in about a dozen
> fish Tuesday afternoon but said she's been getting fewer bites
> recently. She blamed the carp.
> "It's slowed up a lot here, but we still want this lake to stay the way
> it is," Washington said.
> Copyright ) 2003, Chicago Tribune
> Sajjad Lateef
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