A bighead Asian carp was found in Lake Calumet, the first discovered above the electric barrier system designed by the Army Corps of Engineers to prevent the fish from entering the Great Lakes.
The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee announced the finding and said it plans to follow up with more sampling, then with efforts that include netting and electrofishing in the next several weeks, with the goal of reducing the number of Asian carp below the electric barriers.
The 34.6-inch, 19.6-pound bighead carp was discovered about six miles between Lake Michigan and the T.J. O'Brien Lock and Dam during regular samplings taken by an Illinois Department of Natural Resources contracted commercial fisherman.
Within the Chicago Area Waterway System, this was just the second Asian carp discovered.
Silver and bighead are the two most aggressive types of Asian carp. A common weight for either of them is 60 pounds and they can consume up to half of their body weight in a day. If they establish sustainable populations in the Great Lakes, they could devastate these ecosystems.
In addition, Asian carp in the Mississippi and Illinois rivers have physically injured boaters by leaping out of the water when disturbed.
"We commend the IDNR for their ongoing vigilance in catching this fish and identifying evidence that the Asian carp has now been above the barrier. The Great Lakes Boating Federation advises the less-frequent use of the Chicago-area locks," said Ned Dikmen, chairman of the Great Lakes Boating Federation.