DNR prepare for possible Asian Carp invasion - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

DNR prepare for possible Asian Carp invasion

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So far there aren't any Asian Carp in the Great Lakes and DNR wants to make sure it stays that way.

Over 30 experts from the DNR's Fisheries Division are working together to survey a two mile area on the St. Joseph River, something representative Todd Kalilsh says is unusual. "This is not a typical survey at all. You very rarely see our survey crews actively targeting carp."

But Kalish says that's exactly what they're doing. They have 4 electro-shocking boats on the river, trying to find the best way to be ready for an Asian carp invasion. "Carp species can be really hard to catch so we're testing different ways to survey them to see which works best."

The river DOES have common carp. They are in the same family as Silver or Bighead Carp Asian Carp. "They serve as a good surrogate to assess our readiness in case Silver or Bighead carp were to be found in the Great Lakes."

These boats send an electric current into the water which immobilizes the fish. "They kind of just turn over and that allows our field crews to scoop them out with nets."

Once caught, the common carp are tagged. Wednesday they will be released and the process starts over. The crews re-catch them and look at the percentage of tagged fish to see if the electric shock was effective. "We'll be able to determine which methods are most effective and which methods are least effective."

If Asian carp invade, they would come from the Chicago Area Waterway System and Kalish says this would be the ideal spot for them, so crews want to be prepared. "We're not just sitting back and watching things happen, we're being very proactive."

Kalish says there are many reasons why Asian Carp are not wanted in the Great Lakes. "Once they're here they are very hard to deal with." He says they can get up to 100 pounds and eat about 40 percent of their body weight in one day, which means competition for the native fish when it comes to looking for food. They also reproduce very fast.

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