Commercial fishermen are netting invasive Asian carp species out of the Illinois River in huge numbers, which is probably good news for both jobless folks and native species.
This New York Times story outlines the growth in the commercial carp fishery and the government dollars flowing into the industry, and for those concerned about depressed native fish stocks, the news is frankly pretty good:
For many people, Asian carp are proving more boon than bane. Bolstered by government support, the Asian carp harvest has leapt thirtyfold in the past decade, creating a new industry, attracting fishermen and entrepreneurs, and feeding people all over the world.
â€œWe’ve been ramping up for years,â€ said Mike Schafer, owner of Schafer Fisheries.
In 2010, the company sold some 20 million pounds of Asian carp to clients as far-flung as Turkey and Indonesia, up from two million pounds in 2006.
â€œWe’re out in front,â€ Mr. Schafer said, â€œand it’s going to get bigger.â€
The story goes on to detail the multi-million dollar grants and new plant expansions taking place — all of which sound great until you get to the final paragraph of the story:
â€œWe want to crash the population,â€ said Kevin Irons, aquaculture and aquatic nuisance manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. â€œWe’re not trying to find a sustainable yield.â€
I understand the aim, but it sounds like we’reÂ going to build an industry based on a runaway population of invasives — one that will not exist (if managers have their way) five years from now.
I’m all for making lemonade out of lemons — and commercial netting sure as hell cut the legs out of plenty of other fish stocks — but I’m having a hell of a time squaring that final sentence with all that went before it.
See you wondering who edited that article, Tom Chandler.