Anti-carp effort starts on Mississippi River

Two employees of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources used a net to drag just a few feet of floodwater at the intersection of Cedar and East Water streets in Grafton, Ill., Thursday, July 10, 2014, catching nearly 30, inch and a half long fish. The catch is part of an ongoing fish reproduction study. Several different species were caught in the brief drag and the good news is that none of the small fish were the invasive Asian carp. (AP Photo/The Telegraph, John Badman)

GENOA, Wis. (AP) - A project involving an experimental underwater speaker system designed to repel invasive Asian carp has started at a lock on the Mississippi River near Genoa.

University of Minnesota researcher Peter Sorensen and his team from the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Center have been raising funds for the project since April, according to the La Crosse Tribune ( ). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted permission for the project, which uses sounds to drive away Asian carp.

But Mark Clements, who owns Clements Fishing Barge, fears the sounds emitted will impede the migration of native fish species.

"Our sole business is fishing," Clements said. "A lot of these small river towns really survive on the fishing business. If that were to be crippled or hindered in any way, it could mean millions of dollars up and down the river."

Sorensen, who declined an interview with the newspaer, has previously said that his experiment will not affect native fish. He has said that native fish are just as important to him as keeping the Asian carp back.

However, efforts to stop the spread of Asian carp up the Mississippi may be too late, said Ron Benjamin, Department of Natural Resources fisheries supervisor for the Upper Mississippi River.

The invaders have been caught near the mouth of the St. Croix River and near Winona. There are established Asian carp populations in southeast Iowa, and with the high water conditions earlier this summer, there's a good chance they've already migrated north.

"(Sorensen) is not going to solve the whole invasive species problem by doing this, but he may find an effective way to contain them in a place where we don't have them yet," Benjamin said. "That's the way science works. It's a learning process."

Project leaders are expected to provide more details about the effort Monday.