Asian Carp DNA Found Near Lake Michigan

Federal Official Says Finding Doesn't Necessarily Confirm Carp Have Entered Great Lakes

A biologist tests for traces of Asian carp DNA at U.S. EPA labs in Chicago. Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CC-BY-NC-SA).

More Asian Carp DNA samples have been found near Lake Michigan in Chicago, though according to a federal official, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the invasive fish are there.

Kelly Baerwaldt with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the samples found last fall are of concern, but that the DNA could have other sources.

“It can come from a live fish. It can also come from the side of a boat. It can also come from a net that was used to fish for Asian carp. It can come from the sewer systems. It can come from bird feces. So there’s definitely a shadow of doubt,” said Baerwaldt.

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Baerwaldt said recent research has concluded the DNA is “probably not” from a live fish. However, a coalition of environmental groups says that carp DNA being found near a lock in downtown Chicago, about a city block from the lake, is another reminder of the need for more short- and long-term carp controls to protect the Great Lakes.