Zoeller studies effects of Asian carp on Indiana rivers

2013-07-15T12:45:00Z 2013-07-15T18:17:07Z Zoeller studies effects of Asian carp on Indiana riversBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com

INDIANAPOLIS | Attorney General Greg Zoeller and the federal government's "Asian carp czar" toured a portion of the Wabash River Monday to raise awareness of the dangers posed by the invasive fish species.

Zoeller and John Goss, director of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, traveled via speedboat from Wabash to Peru to Logansport and met with local conservation groups to investigate the impact of Asian carp on Indiana waterways.

"We all want to protect the Great Lakes from future problems with Asian carp but need to recognize the current environmental problems currently being caused by this invasive species," Zoeller said. "I appreciate Director Goss – a Hoosier himself – and our federal partners for their help in the effort to protect and preserve the quality of our rivers and streams for those of us who enjoy fishing, boating and recreation."

Asian carp, also known as silver carp and bighead carp, have been swimming northward up the Mississippi and connected rivers after escaping from fish hatcheries in the south during the 1970s.

They can grow up to 4 feet long, weigh up to 90 pounds and have a tendency to jump out of the water at the sound of passing outboard motors.

Electric barriers in waterways leading to Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes are intended to keep Asian carp out and protect native fish species.

However, the state of Michigan and some environmental groups believe the only way to halt the spread of Asian carp is to permanently close the locks connecting Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River system.

Zoeller, a Republican, said he wants to find a way to stop Asian carp and preserve the $7 billion-a-year Great Lakes commercial shipping and recreational boating industries.

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