While governmental agencies have put up barriers and are considering other measures to keep invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes to protect their fishing industries, Indiana Attorney Gen. Greg Zoeller is suggesting that federal officials need to be mindful also of what's happening in Indiana's rivers and streams.
Those bodies of water, especially the Lower Wabash River south of Lafayette, also have been invaded by Asian carp.
The carp are a threat to the Great Lakes' multibillion-dollar commercial fishing industry and could cause the loss of 800,000 jobs, officials trying to protect the lakes say.
There are two species of Asian carp in this part of the country; silver carp, which can reach 100 pounds and fly out of the water when they are startled such as by boat motors, and bighead carp, which can weigh up to 30 pounds by the time they are age 3.
Asian carp have no natural enemies, no predators waiting to do them in.
Asian carp were brought to the U.S. about 40 years ago to clean the algae and wastes in commercial catfish ponds in the South. Some owners of municipal sewage treatment plants also bought them in the 1970s with the approval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be ecofriendly cleaners of sewage treatment ponds, where there were algae and floating solids to eat.
Zoeller said the decades-later upshot has been disaster - as he said it has been with just about every other species brought in to the U.S. to control or eliminate a plant or animal problem.
When floods washed over the catfish ponds, Asian carp were freed from their boundaries and made the most of it. They swam up the Mississippi and other rivers, grabbed the food other fish needed, and kept on going.
They not only are an environmental problem but also a safety hazard, Zoeller said, citing YouTube videos of flying carp attacks on people in boats.
Biologists had warned for years that Asian carp would become an ecological problem before anyone officially paid attention, and many critics of the effort so far say the carp were already out of control by then.