Monday, February 8, 2010

The Carp Threat

Today's subject is the monster Chinese carp making their way toward Lake Michigan.

Call them the Burmese pythons of the frozen northland. They weigh 100 pounds or more, eat everything in sight, and jump high out of the water for the sheer joy of it. This is a problem for motorboats, water skiers, and so on. How would you like to explain to the kids that mommy was minding her own business one sunny afternoon, when out of nowhere she decapitated by a flying carp? "Ya don't know whether to laugh or cry."

They started in "containment ponds" in Arkansas. If there's one thing we learned a while back, it's that you can't keep anything with a voracious appetite confined in Arkansas for very long. They escaped, reached the Mississippi River, and swam north. They found the Illinois River, and now they're in the Chicago canals, brooding and plotting. The authorities, caught napping as usual, think they can poison or zap them before they reach Lake Michigan. I beg to differ. I think that particular game is over with. The Chinese carp will be the killer bees of the Great Lakes -- can't live with them, can't get rid of them.

How will they get there? Here's how: A pregnant carp will die in the Chicago canal. Birds will scavenge the carcass. The fish's eggs will stick to the birds' feet, and some of those eggs will wind up in Lake Michigan when the birds fly there. This is an ancient means of pollination, and it's going to put monster carp in the Great Lakes. There is only one question left: Mrs. Paul's, will anyone even notice if you make fish sticks out of those things?