Asian Carp Solution for the Great Lakes? Bring on the Pelicans!

photo pelicans eat carp
Credit: Bill Rudden.

It seems pretty likely that Asian carp are bound to make it into the Great Lakes, some day, some way. A six-week search for the monster fish recently failed to turn up any of the despised carp, despite DNA evidence of their presence. But the fish are already in Illinois rivers that lead to the lakes. And even with an upgraded electronic barrier, or the closing of Chicago-area locks, the fish are bound to get into Lake Michigan sooner or later, possibly with human intervention. Maybe that's pessimism. But here's some optimism: We could always turn to pelicans if the lakes become crowded with carp. The big-billed birds seem to love 'em. Just look at these pictures of pelicans gulping up the jumping invasives.

photo asian carp pelicans eat
Credit: Bill Rudden.

Commenters to an Illinois birding web site where the pictures are posted say there's been a lot more pelicans hanging around since the carp moved in to Illinois rivers a number of years ago.

Which makes you wonder: Are lots of pelicans worse or better than lots of Asian carp? Will the pelicans eat the carp, and the native fish that make up a $7 billion fishery in the lakes? The answer on the native fish is maybe.

And how true is the "Pelicans love Asian Carp" story? The birds apparently also enjoy Asian carp in the Mississippi River.

According to The Illinois Raptor Center, American white pelicans don't normally migrate as far east as Illinois, but stopped in the state and few years back and liked the fishing so much that they keep returning.

More from TreeHugger on Asian Carp
Asian Carp Lose Interest in Great Lakes Amid Waffling by Obama, Illinois, Army Corps
Flying Asian Carp, If You Can't Fight 'Em Eat 'Em
Asian Carp Update: Michigan Request For Lock-Closing Turned Down By US Supreme Court
Was it Worth It? One Asian Carp Found After Six Miles of River Poisoned in Illinois
Asian Carp Fever Grips Great Lakes, Monster Invasive Fish May Already Be Here

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