A month long netting operation has turned up no Asian carp on Chicago’s main shipping canal near Lake Michigan. The search is part of the federal government’s $78.5 million plan to stop the invasive fish with the huge appetite from taking over the Great Lakes. The netting was ordered after DNA tests showed evidence of the bloated carp at several spots beyond the electronic barrier on Chicago’s main canal that’s meant to keep the fish at bay.
Charlie Wooley of the US Fish and Wildlife Service says they’d like to see actual Asian carp before acknowledging that any are there. But Duane Chapman of the US Geological Survey says the fish are hard to catch when there are only a few on such a massive waterway. As a result, he says it means nothing that the first netting came up empty.
Tom Marks of the Great Lakes Sport Council says the netting is a waste of time and money. He’s afraid the federal government will ease up on its promise to fight the carp, the longer an actual fish doesn’t show up.
The netting result was good news for Chicago business interests which are fighting proposals to close the canals to keep the fish out. It’s part of a lawsuit by Michigan to try and get Chicago to reverse its sewage flows, so Lake Michigan is no longer link to the carp-infested Mississippi River. The suit is backed by Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states outside of Illinois.