Asian Carp Awareness in the Midwest United States And Surrounding Major Waterways

Asian Carp Awareness in the Midwest United States And Surrounding Major Waterways

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Drew Davis started this petition to Senator Richard J. Durbin and

Do any of us ever pay attention to, or wonder why, the State of Illinois inquiries a great debt? Or the major biodiversity of the Great Lakes? According to Alternet.org, the gross product of the fishing industry in the Great Lakes reaches $7 Billion a year annually, and supplies more than 75,000 jobs. But the Lake Michigan and surrounding Lakes’ ecosystem and economy could all be compromised by one species of Fish. The Asian and Bighead Carp. To understand not only how Asian Carp affect us, we also need to understand how they affect other species aswell, and why they need to be contained! The overall synopsis at the end of this speech is to explain how these invasive species affects the ecosystem, our gross domestic product, and what it could benefit if we contain these “vacuum like” garbage fish.


    The Asian Carp is an invasive species to the United States introduced to the Mississippi River through Bleak-minded farmers and flooded waters in the late 1800’s, and are swiftly moving up the Illinois River, destroying the biodiversity and many native species that reside. If we cannot do anything to it, that will be the same for the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes thrive on a wide biodiversity, consisting of thousands of different species of fish, plants, and crustaceans. If the Asian Carp population reach the Great Lakes, they will tear down phytoplankton and small microbes, causing a ripple effect in the food chain. According to Marc Gaden, a representative from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, "For the first time, we have a binational, peer-reviewed study by some of the best minds and practitioners in the field who have a consensus on what the risk is to the Great Lakes from grass carp, and it's pretty substantial.” As part of the study conducted, experts from Southern Illinois University added that about 63% of the total biomass of the Illinois River resides in the Asian Carp Population, and the sad part is, that it STILL grows. This will slowly and painfully disrupt the food chain, and eventually many species will die off. Important species like Salmon, Perch, Smallmouth Bass, will become less and less. This will drive the biodiversity down, and the fishing industry will suffer immensely. Not to mention, if we do not act fast, your future taxes in Illinois could skyrocket an extra 1-3% every 5 years when the fishing industry of the Great Lakes gets filtered out, because we did nothing to belligerently remove these garbage fish from our river systems. Well, what if tax dollars are not worth the effort, and it will cost more in the future to contain these trash fish than it is to pay an extra 1-3%? Actually that is where people go wrong. Raising the Tax bid every 5 years will eventually be costly to other American homeowners, and could detrimentally make more people move out, and more fish and amphibious species’ numbers dwindle because the human race is a selfish nature at heart. Besides, this should be an environmental issue, but we all treat is as an economical, humanitarian, or whatever benefits us “issue.”

But with that, if the crusades of Asian Carp in the United States waterways propose such a gigantic problem, we must need a gigantic solution, right? Well, in the grand scheme of things, if we let the Asian Carp population increase through time, the bottom line will require that we give the opposite to the relinquishment of the garbage fish. With the introduction of Alligator Gar, and a million dollar electric gate near Bolingbrook, Illinois, the gigantic solution is time itself. According to Allyse Ferrera, who studies Alligator Gar at Nicholls State University in Louisiana, “The alligator gar is a tough fish to love. The long snout, two rows of teeth, and scales so sharp Native Americans used them as arrowheads, all make the decision by several Midwestern states to reintroduce the "river monster" difficult to understand. But, “yet reintroduction of the ugly alligator fish to the upper Midwest represents not only the return of a native species once declared extinct in several states, it also poises another solution to the ever feared Asian Carp. With the introduction of a recent extinct species in many states, Alligator Gar will have no problem upholding themselves and reestablishing a presence in their species on the biomass the Asian Carp population contain. With the help of an electric fence that blocks these fish, we can contain these bottom sucking fish, and help keep the fishing economy of many states that rely on the fishing industry in the Great Lakes upheld. Not only are we seeing a big solution to this problem, we are also solving the problem of a possible extinction to one of Earth’s oldest living representatives of geologic time. Alligator Gar are a symbol of great power, and their tough scales and tooth shape suggest that they have lived for almost 100 Million Years. Not only, the Asian Carp are ultimately able to reproduce, if a minimum of 10 females, and even fewer males, make their way into the Great Lakes waterways. Many might believe that the Alligator Gar will eat anything that it sees, or that it might chew through fishing lines, or that their eggs are poisonous. Even if all of these are vaguely true, the Alligator Gar feed on many panfish and baby Asian Carp. And how is this any different to the Asian Carp, one may ask? But, although it seems so similar to dominate an ecosystem by size, the Asian Carp go untouched, because they feed like vacuums, scooping up  Plankton, fish eggs, etc. This gives other fish no space to reproduce or their babies to grow on phytoplankton. The Alligator Gar can help reduce the amount of biomass, and give other species to repopulate, because it eats ANYTHING it sees. And also, what would be the point of Alligator Gar biting through your line, if all you get on that line is another Carp?

 

 As we survey rivers and streams for eDNA of an Asian Carp sighting while they approach the fingertips of the Great Lakes, we’ve reached the crosshairs of a gigantic problem in need of a gigantic solution. By instating a stronger electric fence and beginning the controlled population growth of the Alligator Gar, we are able to crush that gigantic problem. Not only that, but only if the government would see our concern, and take into account the situation at hand of many fishing jobs and the biodiversity of the Great Lakes, and propose funding for the issue, because the only thing we are missing now is time...

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