200,000 lb. Carp & Poisoned River vs. $7 Billion

Crew member searching for Asian carp

Fish may seem like emotionless creatures, but they are living things. However, humans sometimes fail to take this into consideration, blinded by their self-interest. I recently found an article about Illinois officials dumping poison into the Chicago River to kill the Asian carp. And what for? So that maintenance could be performed on an electrical barrier that keeps the fish out of the Great Lakes. Around 200,000 pounds of dead fish are estimated to be collected. This action raises a lot of questions mainly between morality and human lifestyle. You see, if the carp were to get into the Great Lakes, they would destroy the lakes’ lucrative fishing industry ($7 billion) by depleting the bottom of the food chain. It is ironic how authorities say they hope to prevent an “ecological disaster” when they are killing so many fish. In reality, they are not trying to prevent an “ecological disaster”, but instead a “human disaster”. Apparently, the fish are just sacrifices for the interests of humans. But what bothers me more is the officials’ audacity to pour poison into what is considered to be not just the fish’s water but also our water. Okay we always talk about saving the environment and not polluting, yet the officials who hope to prevent a disaster in nature are polluting the water with 2000 pounds of poison. The poison is meant to only kill fish, but how can these myopic people not see that there are greater effects of poisoning our own water? Can they not see what it can do to us? In my opinion, I would not compromise the carp and the river’s ecosystem just for the $7 billion industry. It just doesn’t seem worth it. We’re dealing with an alteration in not one variable in the ecosystem but multiple. The short run goal of saving our industry cannot even come close to the potentially dangerous long run consequences.


One response to “200,000 lb. Carp & Poisoned River vs. $7 Billion

  1. I just want to say that I’m glad that you picked up on this story, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Yes, allowing the asian carp into the Great Lakes would destroy a $7B fishing industry, which alone would devastate several small town economies and destroy the income sources of thousands of families, but it would also decimate the naturaal and native fish and aquatic creatures that are found in the Great Lakes.

    While everyone can agree that intentionally poisoning our waterway (I live in Chicago and work for an org. dedicated to the Chicago River), is a dreadful action, in this one instance the poisoning truly was warranted. The fish were first shocked so that native species could be safely relocated to other areas of the waterway and the what was left was indeed poisoned.

    The hope is that the there will be feasible policy options on the table prior to the next time the electronic barrier needs maintanence. Especially given that the there is some evidence that the barrier isn’t working anyway…

    Thanks for writing about our beautiful planet! Want more info on the asian carp story, just let me know!


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