WISCONSIN (WFRV) - The battle continues to keep Asian carp out of Wisconsin lakes.
Scientists fear that if the invasive fish becomes established in the Great Lakes, they could starve out popular sport fish, such as salmon and walleye. That could potentially ruin a $7 billion a year fishing industry, but experts are quickly working to make sure that doesn't happen.
Chad Kakes and his brother Ed run Shur Katch Fishing Charters in Two Rivers.
"We've had people out from Africia, England, but the majority of the people are from the Fox Valley and western Wisconsin," Chad said.
But he fears business will dry up if Asian carp ever creep into the waters of Lake Michigan. He said the invasive species would not only harm his business, but each and every community on the lakeshore, and he wants to see something done to solve the problem.
National experts say they are working on a solution. John Goss is the Asian Carp Director for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. He spoke at this week's Wisconsin Lakes Convention in Green Bay. Goss said electric barriers in the Chicago area are helping keep the Asian carp contained, and they're making significant progress in developing toxins that may eradicate the fish altogether.
"We're certainly monitoring closely around Chicago, taking water samples," Goss explained. "We're going to be doing more of that around Lake Michigan harbors to make sure we don't have traces of Asian carp that might have escaped years ago, and that's going to happen more this summer."
So far, the fish have only been spotted in lower parts of the Wisconsin river, but experts say they move fast.
"If we just think about water skiing and boating or fishing," commented Bob Wakeman, Wisconsin's Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator. "If we're zooming across a lake and we've got Asian carp in our water, what's that going to do for our recreational activities?"
It's a possibility that gives Chad Kakes a sinking feeling.
"It'd be devastating overall," added Kakes. "I don't know much other way to say it."
For more information on Asian Carp in Wisconsin, click here.