UK & World News

  • 18 February 2014, 15:52

Giant Carp May Be Blocked From Lake Michigan

US officials are considering an $18bn (11bn) plan to stop giant fish infesting Lake Michigan.

Asian carp - which can be more than a metre in length - are displacing the indigenous species and launching themselves at boats.

Engineers have been commissioned by the White House and Congress to come up with a solution.

One of their ideas is to block Chicago's canal network to prevent the carp entering the Great Lakes, but this could be costly and cause huge economic disruption to the city.

Another solution could be eating the leaping fish into extinction.

Local environmental campaigner Michael Beecham told a public consultation that encountering the carp could be a frightening experience.

"I've gone down the river and had these fish jump up and hit me in the face," he said. "It is a big problem for our natural species."

The carp, native to the Far East, were introduced to southern US states decades ago to control algae in sewage treatment plants.

Unfortunately for many indigenous fish they escaped into the Mississippi and have multiplied.

Now the US Army Corps of Engineers have been asked to find an answer.

The blockage solution could take 25 years.

The idea to turn the fish into burgers was not put forward by engineers - but some locals think it is a winner.

Dirk Fucik is selling carp burger at his specialist fish shop near downtown Chicago.

"To catch it and throw it away is a waste," he said. "Eating them helps solve the problem and also provides jobs."

Although this appears to be a problem for the US and Canada, a warning has been issued to the rest of the globe.

Roger Germann, of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, said: "Twenty per cent of the world's freshwater is in the Great Lakes, and from an economic standpoint it will affect shipping that folks in the UK and other parts of the world might rely on to get their goods and services here because they are going to cost more to transport."

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