Live Asian carp discovered near Lake Michigan

In a June 22, 2017 photo provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources shows a silver carp that was caught in the Illinois Waterway below T.J. O'Brien Lock and Dam, approximately nine miles away from Lake Michigan. This is the first time a silver carp has been found above the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' electric dispersal barriers. The silver carp was 28 inches in length and weighed approximately 8 pounds. The fish has been sent to Southern Illinois University for additional analysis. (Illinois Department of Natural Resources via AP)

By JOHN FLESHER

AP Environmental Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A live Asian carp has been discovered in a Chicago waterway about nine miles from Lake Michigan — well beyond an electric barrier network designed to prevent the invasive fish that have infested the Mississippi River system from reaching the Great Lakes, officials said Friday.

The silver carp was 28 inches long and weighed about 8 pounds, officials with the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee said. It was caught Thursday by a commercial fisherman under contract with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources about 2 miles below the below the T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam in the Calumet River, on Chicago’s south side.

The location is 34 miles closer to Lake Michigan than silver carp previously were known to have reached, said Charlie Wooley, Midwest deputy regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Silver carp are among four types of Asian carp threatening to invade the lakes, where scientists say they could compete with native species, unravel aquatic food chains and devastate the region’s $7 billion fishing industry.

Even so, officials cautioned the discovery doesn’t mean Asian carp have become established in the rivers and canals between the barriers and the Great Lakes, or in the lakes themselves. It’s more likely the carp was a loner that somehow made its way into the Chicago area, Wooley said.

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