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Published: Thursday, 6/24/2010

First Asian carp found beyond barriers to Great Lakes

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO - An Asian carp was found for the first time beyond electric barriers meant to keep the voracious invasive species out of the Great Lakes, state and federal officials said Wednesday, prompting renewed calls for swift action to block their advance.

Commercial fishermen landed the 3-foot-long, 20-pound bighead carp in Lake Calumet on Chicago's South Side, about six miles from Lake Michigan, according to the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.

Illinois officials said they need more information to determine the significance of the find.

But environmental groups said the discovery leaves no doubt that other Asian carp have breached barriers designed to prevent them from migrating from the Mississippi River system to the Great Lakes and proves the government needs to act faster.

Scientists and fishermen fear that if the carp become established in the lakes, they could starve out popular sport species and ruin the region's $7 billion fishing industry. Asian Carp can grow to 4 feet and 100 pounds and eat up to 40 percent of their body weight daily.

In Michigan, officials renewed their demand to close two shipping locks on the Chicago waterways that could provide a path to Lake Michigan.

The U.S. Supreme Court has twice rejected the state's request to order the locks closed.



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