Expanded effort targets invasive fish species
BY KITTY CONLEY email@example.com June 16, 2014 9:36PM
Updated: June 17, 2014 1:30AM
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources announced that all the Great Lakes states and various agencies and organizations were joining forces to search for invasive fish in Calumet Harbor and the Illinois and Indiana near-shore waters of Lake Michigan in hopes of protecting the waters from the unwelcome species.
The new combined surveillance effort was described as the first of its kind using provisions of the new Mutual Aid Agreement for Combating Aquatic Invasive Species that was signed by the states and other organizations with an interest in protecting the Great Lakes ecosystem, according to a press release.
“Indiana is proud to join Illinois in this effort. It is imperative we work together to assess invasive threats to Lake Michigan and the impact it will have on the entire Great Lakes basin,” INDNR director Cameron Clark said.
“All the Great Lakes states need to continue to work together to prevent invasive species from being introduced into our waters.”
The efforts include electro-fishing and netting, according to a press release.
The Eurasian ruffe is an eastern European species of fish that has been found in Lake Superior since the mid-1980s, eats the same things as native fish and could present a problem for the fish population in Lake Michigan, officials said.
Environmental DNA of the ruffe was found in Calumet Harbor last year by researchers, the release said, but no actual fish have been found yet.
The DNR asks boaters to watch for and help the agencies by reporting any findings of the Asian carp and/or the Eurasian ruffe in Lake Michigan.
People also can help prevent species from moving to other waters by following the Be a Hero — Transport Zero campaign.
To do so, follow three important and simple steps: 1) Remove plants animals and mud from equipment; 2) Drain all water from your boat and gear; and 3) Dry everything thoroughly with a towel.
Lake Michigan, like the other Great Lakes, has a very large sport and commercial fishing industry that could be hurt by either the Asian carp, the Eurasian ruffe or other invasive species.