National

Dec 10, 2009 2:47 PM by Associated Press

Asian carp raises fear and loathing on Great Lakes

Giant, ravenous Asian carp are poised to invade the Great Lakes, and the region's $7 billion fishing industry is worried.

Federal and state officials are mounting a desperate, last-ditch effort to prevent the marauding carp from breaching an electrical barrier and slipping into the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River.

The despised carp can reach 4 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds. They could hurt native fish by outcompeting them for plankton.

The carp have been making their way up the Mississippi since the 1970s. In the Illinois River, they have caused fish such as gizzard shad and bigmouth buffalo to go hungry.

Scientists say it's uncertain how long it would take them to conquer the Great Lakes, but eventually they could bring ruin to valuable species such as salmon and whitefish.

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