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Officials Make Proposals to Deal with Asian Carp Problems in the Great Lakes

The Army Corps of Engineers released an updated proposal to stop Asian Carp. The invasive species has threatened the Great Lakes for years.

This could hurt a number of businesses along the lakeshore. The Great Lakes is home to a $7-billion fishing industry.

Now, the government has created a plan to try to stop these fish from destroying it.

"If we have more competition for food with the Asian Carp then the salmonid species, the King Salmon, the CoHo Salmon aren't going to have the food they need to have to eat,” said Coho Club President Craig Koepke.

The 488-page proposal from the Army Corps hopes to stop the fish in their tracks. It calls for more electrical barriers and the use of sound waves at critical points on waterways in Illinois.

Experts say that if Asian Carp were to enter Lake Michigan, it would destroy more than the fishing industry.

"One thing I'm pretty confident of, if the carp make it into the lake it will have devastating consequences. And it will destroy the livelihood of a lot of people,” said Notre Dame professor, Dr. Diogo Bolster.

Charter fishing and sporting events like the Hoosier CoHo Tournament would be impacted by the invasion.

Koepke says fishing in Lake Michigan is a pastime for so many.

"It's a way of life for a lot of people and myself, I grew up with these fish in the 70's when I was a little kid and now I'm teaching my kids how to fish for them,” said Koepke.

Dr. Bolster says this situation is difficult. That's because invasive species are so hard to control.

"Nature doesn't allow for containment; you can draw a box around something… nature ignores that,” he said.

While the proposal is in its early stages, local fisherman like Koepke are supportive in the government’s efforts. But the report could have many challenges ahead.

"I want to be fair to my colleagues at the Army Corps, I would not say this is a quick solution on their behalf,” Dr. Bolster said.

The Canadian government is also expressing concern about Asian carp.

It comes with a big price tag. The Federal Government has agreed to pay only 65-percent of the cost.

After federal and state reviews, a final report will be released next August-- meaning it will be at least a year from any final determination on this.

— Niko Burton, WSBT 22