There are unwanted visitors threatening to make their home in the Great Lakes. Originally coming from Asia, the fish immigrated to the Mississippi River eventually making their way to the Great Lakes. Let’s take a look at the problem, the causes and effects, and the possible solutions of the Asian Carp Invasion.
Bighead, Silver, Grass, and Black Carp, even though each its own distinct species, all fall under the name “Asian Carp.” They can weigh anywhere from 60 to 110 pounds, and range from 40 to 60 inches in length. Asian Carp are considered an “invasive species,” an organism that is not native and has negative effects on our economy, environment, or our health. Catfish farmers imported Asian Carp long ago to consume algae in ponds. The carp slowly escaped and migrated to the Mississippi River, then eventually to the Great Lakes. Why are Asian Carp such an issue? Although they are mostly not direct predators, they eat up to one third of their body weight. Asian Carp to not eat other fish, but they eat plankton leaving native fish lower on the food chain competing for food to survive. Asian carp also reproduce rapidly and abundantly. A female Bighead Carp can carry up to one million eggs in a lifetime. In result of such profuse reproduction, Asian Carp are overpopulating the Great Lakes. Since, they are so outsized, they take up much space in the lakes. Asian Carp are also among the largest populated species. If Asian Carp continue to establish themselves permanently in
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Asian Carp should be prevented from entering the Great Lakes because they are destroying the ecosystem in that area. They are a negative contribution to the lakes because they are eating all of the plankton needed for the native fish to survive, which in turn will create a mass starvation among all the fish in the area. The Asian Carp are also a hazard to boaters, as they are capable of jumping out of the water and knocking into fishermen. They can take over an area quickly and never leave because they have no predators, they come in massive swarms, and they breed fast.
As well as pollution, invasive species are damaging the lake ecosystems and food chains, made fragile by pollution and overfishing. The introduction of a new species throws off the balance of food chains. Some common invasive species include the sea lamprey, Asian carp, and zebra mussels, among many others. Zebra mussels have dramatically influenced and affected stable food chains by reducing the amount of zooplankton and phytoplankton. This presents a problem, as fish mostly feed on the drifters, and so they go hungry and die, leaving no food for larger fish to prey on. In addition to underwater disruption, it affects us as well, but only slightly. Plankton and algae especially are the most productive aquatic producers of oxygen, and by the decreasing population, we lose oxygen as well. The sea lamprey is also a problem, though it is not so influential to ecosystems as the zebra mussel.
Now days times have changed. You can no longer enjoy the things you once could. It has become dangerous to waterski or to even enjoy a boat ride down the river due to the Asian carp. These fish are startled easily by boats, and small watercraft. They can jump ten to twelve feet out of the water causing damage to boats and injuring humans. I have heard of people getting cuts from the fins, black eyes, concussions, broken noses and jaws, and even knocked unconscious from this species of fish. Not only are these Asian Carp causing physical damage, they are wreaking havoc on the ecological system. The main concern from the Asian Carp is the dangerous effects that it is bringing to our ecosystem. As an avid fisherman, this is of great concern to me. This will not only affect me as a fisherman, but also possibly hunters, bird watchers, boaters, even jet skiers and water skiers are
Some examples include the zebra mussel, sea lamprey, and Asian carp. The zebra mussel first came to the great lakes by traveling in the ballast water of a transoceanic vessel. Over the years, it has spread into the entire great lakes system. They are very dense with contaminants, which causes predators to stray away from them and not digest them. The zebra mussel has had many negative impacts on the ecosystem. A zebra mussel can attach themselves firmly to any solid object, which has caused water intake and discharge pipes to clog. Some other impacts include suppressing native mussels, over clarifying the water, and stripping water from various plankton that native fish eat. Sea lamprey are another invasive species in the great lakes. A sea lamprey is an eel like fish that sucks bodily fluids from other fish. They have traveled to the great lakes on their own by swimming up the Hudson River. They have contributed to the collapse of the whitefish and lake trout fisheries. Some prevention actions have been put in place and include chemical treatments of spawning
Introduced species are seldom a positive addition to an ecosystem as they cause great stress and harm to the populations of native species. Many introduced species become invasive as they have no natural predators in their new environment, therefore they thrive, and crowd out all other animals. Some examples of invasive species in Ontario waters include the round goby, zebra mussels, eurasian ruffe, goldfish, northern snakehead, rainbow smelt, and rudd, to name a few. A great example to show how destructive an introduced fish can be is the asian carp, this species spreads very aggressively and it is considered the greatest threat to aquatic ecosystems in Ontario. These fish grow to be very large in size, up to 40 kg and 1 meter long. The asian
There were Asian Carp found in a water mass in one of the Great Lakes. Imported from Asia, the sliver carp, will out compete native species in the Great Lakes for food. This would ruin the ecosystem in the Great Lakes because the carps will out compete the species that are native to this lake for food causing the native species to die off. In the Great Lakes commercial and sport fishing is an industry that is worth billions yearly. The silver carp that was found in the great lake could have gotten there many different ways. On is that is swam through the electric barrier that prevents carps from entering the water way. Another is that it could have been on about and carried past the barrier. Lastly, it could have been placed in the lake by
Asian Carp where brought to America in the 1970’s because of their ferocious appetites, to keep algae and other matters out of ponds on catfish farms. Asian Carp average a full-grown length of five feet, and can surpass one hundred pounds. They breed and populate, and grow very quickly. Asian Carp are adversely affecting their un-natural environments by starving out native pond and river inhabitants. They have been slowly but surely migrating up the Mississippi River since their introduction to the Georgia portion. Their imminent arrival to the Great Lakes of Michigan has become a serious concern. This would be an issue because the Great Lakes are currently home to more than 43 federally protected species of fish. An invasion by Asian Carp
Water is an important resource and weather agent in our world, and the Great Lakes Region has an intimate relationship with water. The region was shaped by glaciers long ago and continues to be shaped by flowing surface water today. Groundwater is very pure in the area, which allows for plants, animals, and humans to thrive there. Migration into the area can be related to the groundwater found there. Human use of the water results in man-made structures, water flow alteration, and changes in water quality. Water is very influential in the Great Lakes Region.
Another main challenge facing the Great Lakes is the threat of invasive species, specifically the Asian Carp. The Asian Carp is very dangerous to the great lakes if they were to invade the Great Lakes they would have the capability to knock out entire species of fish while having no real predators. The intrusion of this fish has the potential to ruin the lake's ecosystem altogether. Not only would it hurt the ecosystem immensely, but would drastically hurt the 7 billion dollar fishing industry in the United States. The Greats Lake Restoration Initiative has funded electronic barriers in places vulnerable to the Asian Carp, to keep the fish out of the Great Lakes. These barriers have been successful and have slowed the spread of Asian Carp in
I have noticed that there is a lot of Sea Lampreys in Lake Superior. I live in the Duluth area and I love to fish. Being a concerned resident of the area I would like to see less Sea Lampreys in the lake. I think cutting the Sea Lampreys population to little or none will help out all of the fish in the area and will also bring a lot more fishermen to the lake. I hope that you can agree with me and I hope that we can come to an agreement on how to stop the Sea Lampreys from killing all of the other fish in the area.
Alien species on the humber watersheds are a major ecological issue for the environment because they prevent other native species from living/growing in their natural habitat. Alien species do this by taking up physical space that native species need , preventing native species from reaching their food and water and spreading disease. The humber watershed is affected in two different ways: native species and the overall ecosystem of the watershed. invasive species on the humber watersheds have a major threat to the biodiversity of our waters,wetlands, and marshes. These organisms that originate from different ecosystems pose a great threat to our ecosystem because coming to our ecosystem their natural predators can no longer keep the population's growth rate under control and that causes an increase in population because of that devastating effects on native species, habitats, and ecosystems may occur. There are reports that over 185 non indigenous species were found Ontario’s Great lakes. Some invading species that been found in the Great lakes are the following;
The alewife is part of the anadromous (type of fish that migrate from freshwater to spawn) species of herring in the North America region, sometimes reaching a maximum length of 40 centimeters, with an average length of 25 centimeters.It is also known as the gaspereau in Atlantic Canada, and is known as a kiack/kyack in southwestern Nova Scotia. It has been known for their “invasion” of the great lakes, populating Lake Huron (1933) and Lake Michigan (1949) (native to Lake Ontario (1873)). It is also in Lake Superior (1954) and Lake Erie (1931), spreading to all of these lakes (excluding Lake Ontario, in which it has been suspected to be native to) via the Welland Canal, which lead to Lake Erie, which in turn
But unfortunately, this hasn’t been working as well as it should- an entirely new invasive species has been found in lakes in Minnesota. Starry Stonewort, an algae, produces many of the same negative effects as Eurasian Water Milfoil or Zebra Mussels. It coexists very well with Zebra Mussels, and is actually stronger than Eurasian Water Milfoil, choking it out in competition for food and space. It isn’t picky about growing conditions, and is very hard to remove by hand. A biological control agent has not yet been discovered for the Starry Stonewort, so at this point effort needs to be focused on preventing the spread (Marcotty,
Despite this, because of this it’s long snout, rows of sharp teeth, and armored body has made it be considered a “trash fish” by fishermen. It’s appearance also lead people to believe that it was eating far more desired trophy fish. From then on for nearly 50 years the fish was hunted and killed, being driven out of it’s natural habitat and forced to retreat. This continued up until the 1980’s when scientist were able to debunk these myths and start conservation efforts. These efforts have helped protect and reintroduce the Alligator Gar back into it old habits. The recent reintroductions of the Alligator Gar has started to raise questions if they could be used to fight the the Asian Carps ever expanding numbers.
The Great Lakes provide 20% of the world's fresh water source and are one of the most profitable areas in the world. If we as a species want to benefit from the water supply we have, The Great Lakes must be protected from threats such as invasive species, and allowed to flourish. Although there a slough of invasive species, there are also proper methods for minimizing and dealing with the invasive species and pollutants in the Great Lakes.