The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee today confirmed that an adult bighead Asian carp has been captured in Lake Calumet, a Chicago-area waterbody above the multi-million dollar electric barrier system designed by the US Army Corps of Engineers to prevent the fish from entering the Great Lakes.
The 34.6-inch, 19.6-pound bighead carp was discovered about six miles between Lake Michigan and the T.J. O'Brien Lock and Dam by a commercial fisherman conducting a fish community sampling operation on behalf of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Additional sampling in the area will continue through the next several weeks.
Silver and bighead Asian carp are known to reach weights of 60 pounds, and they can consume up to half of their body weight in plankton every day. If they establish sustainable populations in the Great Lakes, they could devastate aquatic ecosystems and multi-million dollar recreational fisheries for walleye, salmon and perch.
Asian carp are noted for swimming just below the water surface in massive schools, leaping wildly out of the water when disturbed by passing boats. In the United States, several boaters on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers have been physically injured after being struck by leaping carp.