Brought from the East to aid in managing aquatic plants in aquaculture industries, Asian carp has been unwittingly introduced to freshwater sources of the US. Today, they are seen as a big problem in the fishing industry for their big appetite and fast breeding, overshadowing other fish for space and food in lakes.
Asian carp presence has been recorded in around 18 states and are already established in the areas of Missouri and Illinois. The fish threatening to mess with the USD 7 billion sport and commercial fishing industry of the Great Lakes can grow up to 100 pounds and measure over 4 feet.
Some are saying that the easy solution for this is closing the canal systems and any other point of entry of asian carps. However, such a step will certainly cost billions, not only in construction but also in lost profit from boat traffic that uses the canal system.
Last resort options to prevent upsetting the marine biodiversity in the Great Lakes are harmful to other industries and would also worsen the road traffic, ergo an increase in carbon emissions.
The Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework of the government is set to allocate USD 51.5 billion to protect the Great Lakes from the asian carp infestation. This program apparently involves methods to kill or drive them away, from poison pellets to soundwave-shooting underwater guns.
A more permanent and beneficial solution seems to be to catch the asian carps and turn them into foodstuffs like what Schafer Fisheries in Illinois is doing. Schafer has been selling 10 million lbs of asian carp across the world, satisfying a demand for them in other parts of the world while helping their locality get rid of a major headache. Asian carps can be processed into food products like sausage, jerk, hotdogs and can also be included in fertilizers. Even if this one industry will not be enough to totally stop the proliferation of Asian carp, it can at least be a major step in finding a solution.
Asian carp is a collective term for several species of carp: grass carp, black carp, silver carp and bighead carp.