July 11, 2002
Asian carp threaten Great Lakes warns IJC
Immediate action must be taken by the governments of the United States and
Canada to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes in the near future,
stated the International Joint Commission (IJC) in a letter to the governments
of the United States and Canada, released today. Scientists caution that
failure to prevent the invasion of Asian carp may result in damage to the Great
Lakes ecosystem far exceeding those brought about by the previous invasions of
the sea lamprey and the zebra mussel, according to the IJC.
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Recent evidence indicates that Asian carp, a prolific non-indigenous aquatic
nuisance species, may now be within 25 miles of Lake Michigan – putting the
entire Great Lakes basin ecosystem at near-term risk of invasion. Asian carp
have moved up through the Mississippi River system, and now found in the
Illinois River and the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal connected to the Great
Lakes near Chicago, Illinois. It is believed that, based upon their current
rate of dispersal, Asian carp could reach Lake Michigan this year.
In its letter, the IJC calls on the U.S. Government to take
action to stop Asian carp
from entering the Great Lakes by:
continuing operation of the current electrical barrier in the Chicago River; and
installing a second, more permanent barrier.
The IJC also calls on the U.S. and Canadian governments to:
The IJC will hold a telephone media briefing at 11 a.m. (EDT) on July 11, 2002.
To participate, dial
1-800-589-4298, and enter confirmation number 712310.
educate the public about the threat of Asian carp to the Great Lakes ecosystem;
investigate other chemical and physical environmentally sound alternatives to
movement of aquatic nuisance species to and from the Great Lakes; and
consider implementing regulatory controls to prevent transfer of aquatic
nuisance species via
other pathways such as the food and bait fish industries and aquaculture.
The IJC is a binational organization established by the Boundary Waters Treaty
of 1909 to help
Canada and the United States prevent and resolve disputes over use of waters
along their common
boundary. Under the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, IJC reports on
progress by the two
countries to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological
integrity of the waters of the
Great Lakes basin ecosystem. For more information, visit the