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PostPosted: November 20th, 2009, 7:30 pm 
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This is very bad news to the countless oufitters, lodges, and charter services that ply the great lakes. Not to mention the fact that this affects all sporfisherfolk, that in turn support the many Mom & Pop bait and tackle shops all over the Great Lakes Basin.

I've been following this off and on for the past couple of years, and things don't look good.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/tec ... le1371407/


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PostPosted: November 21st, 2009, 10:01 am 
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That is not encouraging news for sure... IIRC, there are about 100 exotic species that have invaded the Great Lakes so far. With fish, it's been common carp, sea lamprey, alewife, smelt, rainbow trout, gobies, ruffe, etc... once they're in, nothing can be done to get them out.

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PostPosted: November 25th, 2009, 11:57 pm 
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There was an item on CBC Radio One today, interviews with an American fisheries biologist, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officer, and a representative of the Great Lakes Waterkeepers.

We've had common carp in the Great Lakes for about 150 years, they're a problem, but they can be dealt with.

Silver carp and big head carp? Try to imagine huge numbers of 45 kg goldfish rooting around, pulling the rug out from under the bottom of the food chain. They have the potential to be far more destructive than zebra mussels or any other previous invasive species

There is a simple way to prevent them spreading north: a few dozen truckloads of rocks and dirt dumped into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal would do it. But I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen. There are too many jurisdictions and too many organizations with vested interests in the status quo, and for that matter in studying the problem until it's too late to do anything about it.


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PostPosted: November 27th, 2009, 2:54 pm 
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Isn't there some type of electric barrier in the Chicago River that is (was) supposed to prevent Asian Carp from getting into the Great Lakes?

Maybe some of the larvae were transported around the barrier in someones live fishing well or bilge.

Perhaps it time to consider the creation of an Asian Carp fishery. Even if they are not edible they could always be used for pet food or fertilizer or something.

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PostPosted: November 29th, 2009, 9:43 pm 
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tgneal wrote:
Isn't there some type of electric barrier in the Chicago River that is (was) supposed to prevent Asian Carp from getting into the Great Lakes?


There is. Unfortunately . . .


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PostPosted: November 30th, 2009, 9:13 am 
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lost_patrol wrote:
There is. Unfortunately . . .

They are poisoning fish in the sanitary and shipping canal today, which nobody likes but is necessary. There are calls for a permanent barrier on the sanitary and shipping canal, but the barge industry is against it. There is currently only an electric barrier, which lets ships and other traffic move through.

I've been told about some very good small mouth bass fishing in the waterway … and was hoping to get down there at some point (right at Lake Calumet). Regular 5-6 lbs fish, which definitely won't be there anymore if they are poisoning the canal between lake and electric barrier (some 7 miles).


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PostPosted: December 22nd, 2009, 10:00 pm 
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Finally - good news on this front. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/21/AR2009122103842.html


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PostPosted: December 24th, 2009, 9:29 am 
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My beloved brook trout are threatened by invasive fish--ironically, often fish that I like to catch or eat--smallmouth bass, smelts, northern pike, muskies. In our brookie lakes, the trout pretty much disappear after bass get introduced, while smelts sometimes are devastating, and other times end up being a forage source for the brookies. We are just beginning to see the impacts of pike and muskies on trout, but it probably won't turn out well.

Temporarily (or, better, permanently) closing the connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi seems like a no brainer, but in the long run barriers are rarely effective. We humans come up with an incredible number of deliberate and inadvertent ways to move exotic fish around. A barrier will slow things down, but it should not be seen as a permanent solution.

As it is, the Great Lakes are pretty much completely infested with non-native species. The carp might make things worse, but they' d just be the latest in a long string of ecological insults.

Perhaps the greatest irony in this story is that the folks screaming the loudest about protecting the Great Lakes' ecological health are sportfishermen who fish almost exclusively for non-native Pacific salmon.

Pogo was right.


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PostPosted: December 24th, 2009, 10:53 am 
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Perhaps the greatest irony in this story is that the folks screaming the loudest about protecting the Great Lakes' ecological health are sportfishermen who fish almost exclusively for non-native Pacific salmon.


Rainbow trout, a non-native species in the Great Lakes, have been so extensively introduced into streams and lakes, that they have become self-sustaining and nothing can be done now to eliminate them.

It's known that brook trout and rainbow trout can coexist in streams but they are in competition since they occupy much the same ecological niche. When other stresses, low oxygen, warm water temps, stream cover, habitat destruction, pollutants, etc, affect stream health, it's often the naturally-occurring brook trout that decline with competition from rainbows adding to the effect of environmental problems.

It's no mystery why governments still persist in introducing non-natives to natural areas... the political pressures from angler's groups (eg. Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters) are too strong, and the demands of aquaculture, both for sport and for fish farming result in other introductions (eg. Atlantic Salmon being farmed on the west coast).



Asian carp should be stopped if possible by blocking the Chicago canal ... the New York State Barge Canal, the Erie Canal and the Welland Canal, all allowed invasive non-natives an entry way in after the canals were built... common carp, alewife, smelt, sea lampreys, and on and on, with historically damaging effects.

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PostPosted: December 28th, 2009, 10:25 am 
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Rainbow trout were apparently accidentally introduced into the Great Lakes in the late 1880's by a landowner here in Ontario(somewhere around the Collingwood area, IIRC) that had 2 or 3 privately stocked ponds. As the story goes, a particularly heavy spring runoff and subsequent dam failure flushed the rainbows into Georgian Bay, and the rest is history. While I enjoy the spring and autumn steelhead seasons, I am also more concerned about the displacement of any native species.

Chinook and Coho salmon were introduced into the Great Lakes to control the exploding alewife populations. The alewifes were having significant die-offs as their numbers would hit a critical mass, and then crash. The result were beaches all over the Lake Huron area that were covered in a reeking alewife sludge.
Many have since argued that Atlantics and an aggressive Lake Trout breeding program would have been a more appropriate choice to control the population, rather than introduce Pacific strains, but as FT suggests, the sportfishery voice can be loud sometimes.

Now, the salmon populations in the Great Lakes are also declining. Clubs all over the Great Lakes are reporting on a significant decline in alewife populations, which in turn is causing the salmon population salmon to crash. Factors suggested in the decline of the alewife range from pollution, to zebra mussel infestations, or more likely combinations of those and other factors. Consider also the increase in cormorants targetting yearling fish, and the species declines. Now, If I'm not mistaken, some clubs in Michigan & Ontario still operate salmon & trout hatcheries as part of a put & take fishery. This method is widely viewed as stop-gap, as many ecologists argue that the situation should be allowed to run it's course.

Either way, the Great Lakes sportfishery doesn't look like it will get any better any time soon.


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PostPosted: January 1st, 2010, 1:25 pm 
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Ontario joins the Michigan lawsuit.
http://news.sympatico.ctv.ca/abc/home/c ... arp_100101
Jeff

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PostPosted: January 1st, 2010, 3:33 pm 
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Officials dumped 900 kg of fish poison into a canal. In 90,000 kg of dead fish, only a single Asian carp was found. Biologists hailed the find as a good sign that the fish were not as wide-spread in the area as feared.

Would this would be called management? :roll:

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PostPosted: January 2nd, 2010, 4:30 pm 
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With invasive species, management options are limited. Still, I think the focus on this story is a little narrow. I'd be interested to know, of the 90,000 kg of dead fish, what fraction was from non-native species? I'm willing to bet it was significant.

And I actually think the one Asian carp they found is a bad sign. It means some of them made it past the barriers, and I'm betting the poison didn't get every one before one made it into Lake Michigan.


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PostPosted: January 2nd, 2010, 7:37 pm 
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native brookie wrote:
With invasive species, management options are limited....
And I actually think the one Asian carp they found is a bad sign. It means some of them made it past the barriers, and I'm betting the poison didn't get every one before one made it into Lake Michigan.


That's what I mean by the so called management. It is nothing new that foreign species have either intentionally or inadvertantly been colonizing the North American continent. Why do the authorities wait so long to act when we already understand the consequences?

In Hamilton, near my home, there is Cootes Paradise where carp have destroyed a previous very productive marsh. We paddled there one beautiful day this past November. The whole area of water is about 1 feet in depth over silty mud. The natural vegetation was missing because of the carp rooting everything up. What I think where huge carp, were jumping and rolling in the water as we paddled close the them. There is a barrier with one way holding bins that are manually emptied of carp back into Hamilton Bay of Lake Ontario, as they migrate into deeper water for the winter. In spring these carp are barred from entering the marsh and thrown back to Lake Ontario. What I couldn't understand is why the carp where not destroyed?

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PostPosted: January 3rd, 2010, 12:31 pm 
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I don't know your local situation, but I can think of at least 3 reasons the carp would not be destroyed:

(1) It wouldn't do any good. Unless the trap facility is capturing a large portion of the carp population, killing the carp that show up there is going to be meaningless at the population level.

(2) There would likely be opposition from animal rights groups about the "wanton slaughter" of "innocent fish". (I actually have some sympathy for this position. It isn't the carp's fault some idiot put them where they didn't belong, and although I am avid angler and hunter, the thought of killing something I don't intend to consume is ugly to me.)

(3) If the number of captured fish is large, dealing with the carcasses could be a significant burden. It's not easy to get rid of large amounts of rotting fish.


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