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Asian Carp Essay

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Asian Carp

The Great Lakes system affects our lives in various ways. Not only does this water system affect people, it has an impact on the natural environment as well. The weather, climate, wildlife and habitat are all affected by this arrangement of five lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, and Erie. The lakes are huge and powerful, however they are very fragile when it comes to being mistreated. The ecosystem has been placed under stress in the past, and we now realize the importance of protecting and preserving our lakes. Years ago, a species of carp were brought into the United States to help our lakes, and now they run the risk of destroying them. Asian carp are a species of fish native to Siberia and China, but they were imported by fish farms in the southern United States to control algae and snail population. In the early 1990’s, aquaculture facilities in the southern United States were flooded and the carp escaped into the Mississippi River and spread into northern rivers. The carp moved north becoming the most abundant fish in some areas of the Mississippi river, triumphing over native fish and bringing hardship to the people who fished the river. The carps’ domination over the Mississippi is reason for concern in the Great Lakes region growing concern in the Great Lakes; the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal connect the Great Lakes to the Mississippi. Last month, a survey was taken that found Asian carp only 55 miles south of our very own Lake Michigan. Unless the Asian carp are deterred, they will infiltrate our great lakes, potentially bringing disastrous effects to the entire region.

Asian carp are a serious threat to the Great Lakes for a number of reasons; the primary concern being that they would become the dominant species after they enter the system. Asian carp can grow to the enormous size of four feet and weigh as much as 100 pounds. Their massive size results in a large appetite as well. In addition to this, Asian carp are a fast breeding species; upon entering the great lakes, it is likely that the carp will become the overwhelming majority of the fish population. Female carp carry up to one million eggs, allowing for this species to easily replace the local fish. These fast-growing Asian carp are not easy to get rid of. While smaller fish are scored and sold easily, this species of large fish are harder to process and score because their bones are big and difficult to remove.
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