UPDATE: Carp Chronicles II
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.
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.