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Senator Sounds The Alarm After Single Asian Carp Is Found Near Lake Michigan

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Federal officials found a single Asian carp nine miles from Lake Michigan Thursday, and some politicians are concerned the fish will be a scourge to the local fisheries and ecosystem.

Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin called the discovery of the fish troubling, and called for action against the invasive fish species.

“I’ve been sounding the alarm on the threat Asian carp pose to our Great Lakes, our quality of life in Wisconsin and our freshwater economy,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Friday.

Baldwin and others are concerned that the Asian carp’s tremendous appetite — the fish can grow to 100 pounds and eat up to 20 percent of its body weight every day — could destroy the local species by depleting the plankton food supply.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which captured the live carp, has prepared a report known as the Brandon Study which contains a plan for preventing the fish’s incursion into the Great Lakes. The Army Corps delayed releasing the report after Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti opposed the measure.

The plan would turn the Brandon Road navigation lock near Joliet, Ill., into a carp kill zone, which Illinois barge operators oppose. “Building new bells and whistles at Brand Road will cost too many taxpayer dollars,” Sanguinetti said in February.

The discovery of the carp Thursday will trigger a two-week intensive fishing operation to see if Asian carp are breeding near the area.

“There is no excuse for any further delay — the Trump Administration must release the Brandon Road study so we can get to work on a permanent plan to stop Asian carp from ever devastating our Great Lakes,” Baldwin said. “I’ve introduced bipartisan legislation requiring the release of this report because Wisconsin communities can’t wait any longer.”

The Asian carp were originally introduced in the southern U.S. because their voracious appetite might make waterways cleaner. The Army Corps last caught a live Asian carp near the Great Lakes in 2010, though some studies have found DNA evidence of the fish in recent years.

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