UPDATE: Carp Chronicles II

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UPDATE: Crains Chicago Business reports that President Barack Obama will name a "carp czar" within a month to make sure the Asian kind don't get into Lake Michigan. Great, another  Obama administration top-level post that isn't subject to congressional scrutiny.

ORIGINAL POST:Just as the Asian carp alarmists were descending today on Washington to pitch their wild-eyed solutions to keep the fish out of the Great Lakes, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn arrived with such an obvious idea that it's surprising that it hadn't caught on before:

Ship tons of the carp back to Asia where it is a food staple. Unfortunately, he's getting government (i.e. taxpayers) involved in what should be an entrepreneurial undertaking. Said Quinn, as quoted in the Tribune, "If you can't beat them, eat them."

We taxpayers come into Quinn's plans by investing $2 million to upgrade the facilities at Big River Fisheries in Downstate Pearl and Pittsfield. Why them, I don't know, as a few other fish processing plants every year already are shipping millions of tons of Asian carp back to where they came from..
But one has to love the wildly creative instincti of Ross Harano, Big River's director of international sales. She said they'll sell carp from Illinois to upscale Chinese restaurants as "wild grown" from Illinois waters. She said:

Just like people pay a premium for Angus beef, we believe people will pay a premium for this,We're marketing it as 'Wild Mississippi River Fish.' It's all in how you market it over there.

Just don't tell them about what the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District dumps into the illinois River at its headwaters, Ms. Harano.

Meanwhile, the Unlock Our Jobs coalition put the spotlight on the hearings in Washington:

Today, as members of the Senate Subcommittee on Water and Power of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources meet to discuss next steps in the federal response to Asian carp, the UnLock Our Jobs coalition urges lawmakers to reject the fear mongers and alarmists and focus, instead, on a comprehensive, logical solution to the Asian carp issue that does not cripple the economy of the Great Lakes region.  After a recent isolated discovery of an Asian carp in Lake Calumet, Illinois and a spawning population over 100 miles downstream of wetlands in Indiana's Wabash River, politicians throughout the region made immediate calls for closure of Chicago area locks and permanent separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River Basin.  In contrast, UnLock Our Jobs encourages a level headed, scientific approach to this issue.

The group describes itself  as:

,,,a coalition dedicated to protecting the essential waterway connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River corridor. A project of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, coalition members represent agriculture, business, labor, river communities, and concerned citizens working towards a comprehensive solution to stop the spread of Asian carp, while leaving the Chicago locks open to commerce.


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  • Just what we need another useless government position.This administration has already added over 100,000 employees.Please stop your killing us.We can't afford this crap any longer....

  • On the other hand, I think this is the first time that Quinn actually addressed a problem and did something constructive for the economy, even, as you indicate, it took Big River Fisheries to make the proposal and take a grant.

    As far as what the MWRD dumps into the canal, I'm sure it is no worse than what the Chinese dump into their own rivers, nor the lead and cadmium containing goods they sell here (and advertised on Tribune message boards incessantly until the software was changed, but still do). We don't know whether their domestic dog, snake, and cat (or even chicken) have their equivalent of USDA testing.

    As far as the carp czar, since the carp came from China or Mississippi, it is a commerce question, and it seems that that alternative is better than letting Michigan continuously go to the Supreme Court to get the canal closed, although that AG might have finally got the message that the Supreme Court won't take the case.

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