Study: Lake Michigan has plenty of food for Asian carp

Bighead Carp
FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 5, 2006 file photo, a bighead carp, front, a species of the Asian carp, swims in an exhibit that highlights plants and animals that eat or compete with Great Lakes native species, at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. A new study based on computer modeling says if Asian carp successfully invade Lake Erie, they eventually could make up about one-third of the total fish weight there and cause declines of walleye and other valuable sport species. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – A federal study says the most feared types of Asian carp would find plenty of food if they reached Lake Michigan.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey used computer models to estimate the lake’s suitability for bighead and silver carp. They have advanced up the Illinois River, which is linked to Lake Michigan by other waterways.

Government agencies are using electric barriers and other strategies to block their path to the lake, where it’s feared the carp would out-compete many native species.

Using satellite imagery, the scientists found that nearshore and bay areas of Lake Michigan have plenty of algae, the carps’ food of choice.

Study leader Karl Anderson says that means if the carp reach the lake, they’ll likely congregate in coastal areas, where human activity is heaviest.

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