teeming perilous hordes of carp

25Jun10

The discourse of foreign species management, and all its bells and sparkles: wading through it is as fun as it is disturbingly eery.

SERENA DAI and JOHN FLESHER, ‘Single Asian carp found near Lake Mich’. ass. 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.

[…]

“The threat to the Great Lakes depends on how many have access to the lakes, which depends on how many are in the Chicago waterway right now,” said John Rogner, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

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.

“If the capture of this live fish doesn’t confirm the urgency of this problem, nothing will,” said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office.

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.

Rogner, from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, estimated that the male carp was about 3 to 4 years old. It was caught live but has since been killed and will be sent to the University of Illinois to determine if it was raised artificially or naturally bred.

The fish was sexually mature, but Lake Calumet’s conditions aren’t conducive to reproduction because the water is too still, Rogner said.

Even so, the lake is the ideal living environment for the fish because it’s quiet and near a river system, he added.

“It fits the model to a T,” he said. “They may be concentrated in that area.”

Officials said they’ll use electrofishing and netting to remove any Asian carp from the lake.

They have been migrating up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers toward the Great Lakes for decades.

[..]

“Is it disturbing? Extraordinarily. Is it surprising? No,” Joel Brammeier, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, said of the carp’s discovery beyond the barriers.

He said the capture highlights the need to permanently sever the link between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. The Army Corps is studying alternatives, but says the analysis will take years.

“Invaders will stop at nothing short of bricks and mortar, and time is running short to get that protection in place,” Brammeier said.

Ian Johnston, ‘UK accused of ‘racism’ towards invaders from across the pond’, independent.

“Save the aliens!” is the cry – and an unusual one too. Safeguarding Britain’s flora and fauna from the ravages of mankind and “non-native invader” species has become the largely unquestioned cause célèbre of a generation.

In a new book, however, a leading historian argues this “culturally-determined” idea of native and non-native species is fundamentally flawed, and calls attempts to preserve the genetic identity of British wildlife “quasi-racist”. Professor Christopher Smout, Scotland’s Historiographer Royal and the founder of the Institute for Environmental History at St Andrews University, said species needing conservation should receive it regardless of “ethnicity”. Those which cause problems, such as native bracken or non-native giant hogweed, should be dealt with in the same way and classed as “pests”.

“The preoccupation with alien species is comparatively recent and not something which worried scientists and ecologists 50 years ago,” said Professor Smout, whose book, Exploring Environmental History, is published in May. “They were concerned with pests. In recent times, the emphasis has been on the fact these pests are aliens and it has tended to a blanket condemnation to all species not classed as natives.”

T. C. Smout, Exploring Environmental Histories, Edinburgh University Press, 2009.

Exploring Environmental History is a collection of essays and papers which distil the professor’s latter-day researches and reflections. They are characteristically acute and uncompromising. — Roger Hutchinson Scottish Review of Books The modest title of this book gives little idea of the excitements that lie within… This is a memorable book, rich in scholarship and full of argument, and elegantly written… the brilliance of the essays must make ‘Exploring Environmental History’ a thoroughly worthwhile purchase or gift. — Paul Ramsey Recorder News Christopher Smout is, in my opinion, the best environmental historian in Britain; indeed, he practically invented the term. He is worth being read by every conservationist, not just for his specialist knowledge, but also because he is extremely readable. It ought to be a commonplace view that, as he asserts, environmental problems can be understood properly only from a historical perspective. — Peter Marren British Wildlife Thant the book shoudl end with provoking thought in its readers cannot be anything but good and reinforces our sense of gratitude that these essays should exist and that the publishers should bring them all together. — Ian Simmons, Emeritus Professor, University of Durham Environment and History Exploring Environmental History is a collection of essays and papers which distil the professor’s latter-day researches and reflections. They are characteristically acute and uncompromising. The modest title of this book gives little idea of the excitements that lie within… This is a memorable book, rich in scholarship and full of argument, and elegantly written… the brilliance of the essays must make ‘Exploring Environmental History’ a thoroughly worthwhile purchase or gift. Christopher Smout is, in my opinion, the best environmental historian in Britain; indeed, he practically invented the term. He is worth being read by every conservationist, not just for his specialist knowledge, but also because he is extremely readable. It ought to be a commonplace view that, as he asserts, environmental problems can be understood properly only from a historical perspective. Thant the book shoudl end with provoking thought in its readers cannot be anything but good and reinforces our sense of gratitude that these essays should exist and that the publishers should bring them all together.



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