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Researchers opening new front in fighting invasive Asian carp

The philosopher Plato is often credited with saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

Whether he actually uttered (or wrote) those words might be debatable. What isn’t debatable, however, is how the old saying applies to a natural resources problem faced by several states in the upper Midwest — including Michigan.

By now, Mining Journal readers are well familiar with the trials and tribulations related to management of the Asian invasive carp, a species introduced for good reasons some decades ago, only to get loose and create havoc for native types because of their aggressive behavior and voracious appetite.

The states in the Great Lakes basin have spend millions of dollars in recent years attempting to hold back a rising tide of Asian carp.

The results of all of these efforts have been decidedly mixed. Now, however, something new is being tried that holds promise.

Some are calling it a seek-and-destroy mission, where specific carp are captured, tagged and returned to the water.

Scientists then monitor the fish’s’ movements through receivers, giving them a good idea where to plant nets to halt major relocations.

The Detroit Free Press reports that agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife managers have built a network of receivers extending from the St. Croix River in far northern Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico to record tagged invasive carp’s movement, with periodic data collection.

The first receivers were deployed in the Illinois River in an effort to stem migration into Lake Michigan in the early 2000s.

The solar-powered receiver can transmit real-time notifications of the movements of tagged invasive carp, the Free Press noted.

This is thinking outside the box — a box that’s brimming with silver, bighead, black and grass Asian carp.

We’re going to keep a close eye on whether this works or not.

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