CHICAGO — Officials pulled an invasive silver carp from the waters of Lake Calumet on the city’s Far South Side Thursday.
Anglers began looking for it after someone spotted the invasive species, part of the Asian carp family, in Lake Calumet earlier in the week, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said in a statement.
The silver carp — more than 38 inches long and weighing about 22 pounds — was captured by gill netting and electro-fishing crews with the department and with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the department said.
Invasive carp threaten native fish populations in lakes and rivers because they outcompete them for food and space, eating uncontrollably and reproducing quickly.
The catch has sparked an effort in the area to find out if there are other invasive carp in Lake Calumet, which is about 7 miles from Lake Michigan, the department said.
Biologists with the department will extract the fish’s earbone (called otolith), which is a calcium structure and analyze the chemical ratios in it to determine where the fish has been living over the course of its life span, said Jayette Bolinski, spokesperson with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources,
The department’s response effort includes notifying the public, conducting the analysis and surveying the lake.
“We’ll have people out all weekend, through the weekend doing surveys of that lake to see of there are any more of these carp in there,” Bolinski said.
It’s the third time a bighead, also an invasive fish, or silver carp has been caught above the Romeoville-area electric dispersal barriers that are meant to discourage invasive fish from entering Lake Michigan.
In 2017, a silver carp was captured in the Chicago Area Waterway System below the T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam, and in 2010, a bighead carp was captured in Lake Calumet.
In Jan., the Army Corps of Engineers released a civil works plan that included $226 million toward the Bandon Road Lock and Dam project which is meant to stop carp from swimming to Lake Michigan.