Asian Carp Endanger Fishing Industry, Boaters

Great Lakes states sue for fed help containing unstoppable Asian carp spread.

ByABC News via logo
February 13, 2010, 6:18 PM

Sept. 7, 2010 — -- The Great Lakes states are taking the ongoing war against an unlikely invader -- Asian carp -- to a new front: a federal court room.

Attorneys from Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota are expected to argue in court today to convince the federal government to have the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers barricade the locks on the only shipping channels between the Mississippi and Lake Michigan -- hoping to lock out the carp.

"If they get in here, it would just wreak havoc on these jewels we call the Great Lakes," John Rogner, assistant director of Illinois Department of Natural Resources, told "Good Morning America."

The spread of the fish threatens the $7 billion a year fishing industry there. The fish spawn three times a year and consume 40 percent of their body weight in food every day, often choking the local ecosystem.

But nearly a hundred businesses depend on the open waterways and owners argue that such a measure could ruin them.

"What they're talking about is shutting down the avenue to get any business up here," said Jacque Kindra, who owns a small tug boat company with her husband John. "There is no way to survive that. They're closing the path that all our business comes from."

Efforts to stop the carp have included an electrical barrier, but those other states feel that won't be enough.

The bottom feeders were imported from China decades ago to help Southern fish hatcheries. But floodwaters washed them into the Mississippi River where the population exploded and sent the scaly swimmers upsteam to Illinois.

Now, they're threatening to break their way into the Great Lakes.