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Dec. 4 2009 - 4:36 pm | 61 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

One carp stirs the (poisoned) waters in Chicago

Photo of Lockport Lock, Lockport, Illinois

An Asian carp was found near this lock in Lockport, IL. Image via Wikipedia

Illinois state officials poisoned six miles of the Sanitary and Ship Canal southwest of Chicago on Wednesday to determine whether any of the tens of thousands of dead fish that sufaced were Asian carp, an invasive species.

One was.

“This is clearly a significant find in this operation that validates why it is so important for this work to be done,” said John Rogner, an assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Illinois considers the carp “an impending ecological disaster for the Great Lakes” but especially for the fisheries there, because they can grow to 100 pounds and can consume up to 40 percent of their body weight daily.

They’re better known for leaping in the air when disturbed by boat motors, sometimes landing in the boats. For this reason, they’ve been declared “injurious widlife.”

The remains of the other fish killed in the canal are headed to a landfill.

The 22-inch carp was about four miles from of an electric barrier that sends electric pulses into the canal to turn the carp around before they reach Lake Michigan. State officials plan to turn off the barrier for maintenance. They poisoned the river to determine how close carp had come to it.

The poison used, Rotenone, is derived from plants, sometimes used in organic farming, and eventually broken down by sunlight. It was chosen because it is easily absorbed by the gills of fish but less easily by the digestive tracts of animals who eat fish. It has been banned in the UK and parts of Canada because of evidence it may contribute to Parkinson’s Disease.

When WGN’s Chicago Breaking News Center reported on the fish kill yesterday, dozens of commenters criticized it as a doomed effort, a waste of tax money, a slaughter of innocent fish, a reckless use of poison. One posted a recipe:

Silver Carp Fillets with Mixed Salad

This is a delicious fish meal!

Ingredients for 4 servings:

8 medium-sized fish fillets

2 tbsp corn flour

1 turnip

1 beet

2 big onions

2 lemons

Vegetable oil, vinegar, salt

1 tsp grated horse-radish


Roll the fillets into corn flour mixed with salt. Allow to rest for half an hour.

Clean, wash and shred the vegetables. Combine with horse-radish and season with oil, vinegar/lemon/ and salt. Cover the salad and allow it to absorb the spices. Fry the fillets till brown both sides. Place over paper to absorb grease. Serve with salad and rounds of lemon. This is a light and healthy dish. It rivals meat dishes in its nutritional value….

The fish goes with white wine.

Enjoy your meal!

via 1 Asian carp turns up after fish kill – Chicago Breaking News.


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    About Me

    Environmental reporting recruited me 25 years ago—on my first day as a reporter for my college newspaper, when I discovered my college was discarding radioactive waste in the regular city trash. Since then I've written hard news for dailies, including the Arizona Republic, and slanty news for alternative weeklies, including Newcity. I've written a column for New Times, stories on the Web for Forecast Earth, essays for PEN International and other magazines. I lived in an idyllic California village nestled among volcanoes and vineyards until my batteries were full of sunshine, and then I returned to my origins on the South Side of Chicago, where hope persists with no illusions about the struggle ahead. I cross the asphalt jungle by bicycle and el, mostly to get to the University of Chicago, where I teach journalism. But what matters more than any of this is a lifelong love for the natural world. We are all born with it, I believe, but some turn away.

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