News Local/State

UI Prof Improves Upon Asian Carp Research


A University of Illinois researcher says he's making progress on an innovative way to keep Asian carp from flowing into the Great Lakes region. The invasive fish, and particularly very young carp, seem to be deterred by carbon dioxide, as do very young largemouth bass and bluegill.

Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Professor Cory Suski has already used high concentrations of CO2 in water to make adult carp feel ‘woozy’ and swim away. 

The tests have moved from a lab to an outdoor pond to a tank holding more than one million gallons, but Suski says he’s still not to the point where tests can be moved to a larger site long-term. 

“That’s very small compared to a large river, where the water’s flowing, where there’s seasonal changes, and things like water temperature, and water chemistry, and those kinds of things," he said. "So we need to explore those options, and those are some of the biggest hurdles.”

Suski has also experimented with other non-physical barriers, like electric ones that emit a low-voltage charge, or strobe lights.  But he says they’re not completely effective due power outages.

The Asian carp as seen as hurting the supply of plankton that other fish and mussels depend on, but can also leap so high, they’re a threat to boaters. 

Earlier this month, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan told The Detroit Free Press that Obama administration should take ‘immediate action’ after the fish was found 12 miles from Lake Michigan.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports a nearly 2-mile barrier through a marsh in northeast Indiana, designed to the keep the carp out of the Great Lakes, is nearly finished after weather held up the project.