If Asian (bighead) carp respond to obnoxious sounds and high decibel levels the same way I do when one of my daughters pulls up with her stereo blasting, then Minnesota may be on to something. Like everyone else in the Great Lakes region, Minnesota officials are greatly concerned with the relentless march of these invasive eco-wreckers are making along the Mississippi River.
Now, Professor Peter Sorensen of University of Minnesota’s Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology wants to try some unorthodox methods for irritating the bighead carp and stemming their river advancement. Recently named Director of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC), Sorenson believes that acoustic barriers installed at locks and dams on the Mississippi River can be effective in repelling carp, which are known to have sensitive hearing.
In a UM publication, Sorensen likens the Asian carp threat to that of the common carp – another nonnative species introduced a century ago. Left largely unchecked for many years, common carp still present environmental issues today.
“I knew all about the history of the common carp, especially the failure to recognize the threat and then act on it in a systematic and thoughtful manner. Today people aren’t aware we’ve been down this road before,” says Sorensen. “If you don’t do something, it’s like sitting on the train tracks and watching the train come.”