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U.S. Coast Guard: Asian carp unlikely to enter Great Lakes on commercial vessels


CHICAGO (WTAQ) - The U.S. Coast Guard says it’s unlikely that the invasive Asian carp can enter the Great Lakes by latching onto commercial vessels.

And even if smaller carp manage to get into the boats’ ballast tanks, they would almost certainly be killed by the tanks’ pumping mechanisms when they try to return to open water.

Scientists have been finding DNA from the bloated carp beyond an electronic barrier near Chicago that’s meant to keep them out of Lake Michigan. And government experts are now studying whether the DNA could have come from sources other than the carp themselves – and whether the fish are finding ways to get around the barrier.

A detailed report on those studies is due out later in March.

One theory suggests that carp eggs and recently-hatched fish might be entering through cracks of tug boats and other vessels that do business on the Great Lakes. But a new Coast Guard report says there’s only a “minimal risk” of it happening.

Wisconsin and other Midwest states are trying to keep the Asian carp away at all costs, saying it poses a major threat to their multi-billion dollar fishing industries.