Asian Carp Invasion: Time To Build A Wall?

Don Corrigan has an opinion on “The Wall.” No, not the wall proposed along the Mexico border, but a wall proposed in Illinois.

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

It’s time to seize the day and build the wall. Not the wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for at our southern border, but a wall to stop invading Asian Carp from traveling up our Mississippi and Illinois rivers into the Great Lakes.

The multi-million dollar wall would be built underwater near Joliet, Illinois, to keep the Asian carp from swimming into Lake Michigan near Chicago. There are fears the invading carp would make a home in the Great Lakes, including that big lake they call Gitche Gumee.

Around these parts, I have seen Asian carp establish themselves in the lakes we call Simpson, Unger, Creve Coeur, as well as in the Meramec River. During our annual 500-year floods, I have seen hordes of Asian carp kissing the surface scum in the Meramec River tributaries at lovely Emmenegger Park.

Asian carp take over wherever they invade. It’s estimated that they now make up more than 60 percent of the fish bio-mass in the Illinois River. Scientists say if these voracious fish enter our Great Lakes, they could ruin prized fresh water angling and wipe out the region’s $7 billion fishing industry.

Of course, warnings from scientists about endangered fresh water lakes do have to be taken with some grains of salt. These are the same scientists who tell us that global warming is causing climate change. I think the latest presidential gut check has established that such wild ideas on climate are fake science.

Regardless of the science, I am in favor of a wall for the carp. I do not favor a concrete wall or a steel wall with slats. We are a high-tech country now. We can avoid doing damage to the rivers and our environment by being smart about this.

The Army Corp is recommending an electric barrier to deter the carp as well as flush jets and underwater speakers with sounds that will repel the fish.

I urge our Army Corp to be smart about the sounds it uses on the underwater speakers. I recommend the song, “Fish Heads,” by Barnes & Barnes. Go to the YouTube video for “Fish Heads,” and you will find more than one-million human hits on this site. Hits by fish, however, are quite low, indicating that they are truly repelled by this song.

There are those who don’t want to build a wall or barrier to stop the carp. They want to come to an accommodation with the fish. Chef Phillipe Parola of Louisiana says the answer to invasive carp is to catch them en masse and to “learn to love these fishes to pieces.”

Parola insists he has devised recipes that turn Asian carp from a trash fish to a delicacy. He adds that proper preparation of the carp can turn them into a cross between scallops and crab meat.

Parola sounds like an appeaser to me, but perhaps we should keep an open mind. Certainly the government should not be shut down over the carp crisis. Still, I am not sure I like the ring of Parola’s motto: “If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Eat ’Em.” Sounds fishy to me.

If you have an opinion we would love to hear it – just leave a comment with your ideas and thoughts on the Illinois wall.

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