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Scientists conduct two-week search after an Asian carp is found 9 miles from Lake Michigan

Scientists wrapped up a two-week extensive search for any Asian carp in a 13-mile section of waterway near the T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam. Luckily, they didn’t find any.

Scientists said Asian carp could compete with native species in the Great Lakes, interfere with aquatic food chain and could disrupt the fishing industry. Asian carp compete directly with native fish for food.  

On June 22, Kevin Irons, an aquatic nuisance species program manager with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources got a call that an Asian carp had been discovered.

“It was at 9:44, I remember it well and we started our response,” said Irons.

Various crews from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, IDNR and commercial fisherman came out to monitor the area. This is the second Asian carp found near Lake Michigan since 2010.

“They are working doing everything they can to try to find one. If it was going to be here we were going to catch it,” said Brandon Falish, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Biologist.

For many scientists, June 22nd was a day they will remember.

“We were just shocked. We’ve been sampling the waters since 2010 so this is my first time out and seeing an Asian carp. I thought this is not good,” said Rebecca Anderson, Ecologist.

Over the course of two-weeks, scientists and fisherman conducted about 1000 samples.

The fish was taken to Southern Illinois University for testing. Scientists will be looking at a bone in the fish’s inner ear that could be the key to finding out how it made its way through the electric barriers.

“If we look at that very carefully we might be able to find where that fish was living the last five six years. And if it went from one basin to the other we can get that information too,” said Irons.

Researchers are expecting to get those results at the end of the month. For updates on the Asian carp, visit: http://www.asiancarp.us/

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