Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Asian Carp Attack Rowers; These Are Horrible Fish

A fishy horror movie? Asian Carp leaping
from a Midwest waterway. Yikes!  
There's a lot of funny videos circulating centering on Asian carp.

The most recent one that's going viral shows the Washington University in St. Louis freshman men's crew team gettting attacked by the fish in a recent practice run.

You'll see the video at the bottom of this post.

Asian carp are spreading rapidly through mostly the Midwest and Mississippi Valley, but threaten to cover the whole country.

Their most visible and annoying habit is leaping out of the water when a boat or something else disturbs them, which is why you get the Washington University rowing team contending with the carp.

But Asian Carp and aggressive in other ways, crowding out most native fish and leaving waterways with just thick clots of these pesky fish.

The National Wildlife Federation says this about the critters:

".....voracious filter feedes, Asian carp consume up to 20 percent of their bodyweight per day in plankton and can grow to over 100 pounds. Plankton are small floating organisms that form the foundation of the aquatic food chain and are vital to native fish."

A lot of people think it's inevitable that the fish will enter the Great Lakes, and that would be horrible. Again, the National Wildlife Federation:

"It is crucial to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. Once established in an ecosystem they are virtually impossible to eradicate. Adult Asian carp have no natural predators in North America and females lay approximately half a million eggs each time they spawn."


So how did these awful Asian fish get to the United States in the first place?

Well, some idiot imported them here in the 1970s because he thought they would do a fantastic job in filtering pond water in fish farms in Arkansas. Inevitably, flooding allowed the carp to escape and they've been reproducing like mad and spreading ever since.

There seems to be a long history of people importing stuff from overseas for their own convenience, without thinking about whether these imports would be an invasive species.

Anyway, Asian carp are wrecking ecosystems, but at least we get funny videos out of them. The balance doesn't work, but what can you do?

Here's the video I promised earlier:

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