July 13, 2010

Illinois Carp Fishing Plan Might Take a Bite Out of Carp

Governor Quinn today announced a new plan to address the spreading Asian Carp problem - catch some of the fish and send them back to China.

It turns out that the Chinese, who savor the carp as a delicacy, think Illinois-grown Asian Carp are mighty tasty, and are willing to buy whatever we can catch and send back to China.

Catching the fish alone isn't going to solve the problem, but it could be a part of the solution. Biologists believe that one force behind the carp's northward push toward Lake Michigan may be the population pressure in the Illinois river system. Since asian carp now make up most of the life in the Illinois River (by weight), they may be driving themselves northward in search of food.

So, even if there is little chance of fishing them entirely out of the Illinois River, it may well be possible to make a dent in their population, and in the migration pressure. It also could be another reason to keep cleaning up the Illinois River, if the world's most populous country is developing a taste for fish harvested from it.

We still need to move quickly toward a permanent solution, but we applaud the Governor for a creative approach that should help address the problem, while creating new jobs in the once prolific Illinois river fishing industry.