Carbon Dioxide May Thwart Migration of Asian Carp Into Great Lakes: Study

TORONTO – The manufacturing process that adds the fizz to carbonated beverages is a technology being assessed to regulate the Asian Carp’s behavior and migration throughout the Great Lakes region, according to a recent research study. The two species of the Asian Carp, the bighead and silver carp are seen as an invasive species and threaten the aquatic population of all the Great Lakes.

Scientists at the University of Illinois and United States Geological Survey believe the introducing carbon dioxide gas into waterways inhibits their movement. Observation and research data showed the silver and the bighead carp avoided migrating into a retention pond infused with carbon dioxide at the research facilities of the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in Wisconsin. “The results are encouraging because there is a need for additional methods to prevent the entry of Asian carp into the Great Lakes,” commented University of Illinois researcher Michael Donaldson.

With the successful application of carbon dioxide in a controlled environment, scientists plan to introduce carbon dioxide into a natural river or waterway to gauge its effectiveness.

Scientists are still measuring their impact in rivers, but under worst-case scenarios, the large carp could leave popular sport fish to go hungry and suffer population drop-offs. Asian carp are edible but bony, and most Great Lakes fish connoisseurs regard them as a poor substitute for walleye and whitefish.

Additionally, silver carp are notorious for springing from the water when startled, sometimes ramming boaters with bone-cracking force — a hazard that some fear could damage the Great Lakes’ tourism industry.

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Several carp species were imported from Asia in the early 1970s to cleanse algae from fish farms and sewage treatment ponds in the South. They escaped during flooding and have migrated up the Mississippi and its tributaries, including the Illinois River, which leads to a network of Chicago-area rivers and canals and Lake Michigan.

PHOTO Tommy Goszewski, a technician with the U.S. Geological Survey, holds a grass carp

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