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Anglers encouraged to watch for
Asian carp in Illinois waters    
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[JUNE 30, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Anglers in Illinois are being encouraged to be on the lookout for and report any new sightings of bighead and silver carp, two species of invasive Asian carp threatening sportfishing throughout the Mississippi and Illinois River basins and Great Lakes region.

A new poster is being distributed to bait shops in Illinois to assist those fishing in the state in identifying bighead and silver carp -- and outlining what anglers should do if they find or catch the invasive fish. The poster was developed by the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant program, in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Natural History Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The poster features images of the fast-growing species, along with images of juvenile bighead and silver carp. The juveniles are more difficult to identify and are similar in characteristics to baitfish often used by Illinois anglers, such as gizzard shad.

Biologists encourage those fishing in Illinois waters, particularly on the Illinois River and its tributaries in northern and northeast Illinois, to learn to identify bighead and silver carp and to report sightings. Anglers who catch bighead or silver carp are asked to note the location of the catch, to freeze the specimen in a sealed plastic bag and to contact the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant program, (847) 872-8677, or the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, (309) 968-7531.


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Bighead and silver carp compete with young sport fish and forage fish for food sources, including plant and animal plankton, posing a threat to commercial and recreational fishing in the region. The Asian carp migration through the Illinois River toward the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and Lake Michigan prompted a joint effort among state, federal and international agencies to develop strategies for preventing the spread of the fish. A temporary electric barrier designed to prevent the fish from passing through was installed on the canal in Romeoville in 2002. Depending on the availability of funding, a second electric barrier in the canal is expected to be constructed later this year.

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources
news release]

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