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Asian Carp Found in Humboldt Park Lagoon Taken to Shedd Aquarium

By Victoria Johnson | December 27, 2012 1:39pm

CHICAGO — The latest additions of Asian carp to the Shedd Aquarium's Invasive Species exhibit came from none other than the Humboldt Park Lagoon.

The three large fish, specifically bighead carp, were found in the lagoon on Oct. 9 by fisheries biologists from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, according to the Shedd.

The discovery came as the result of the strategic surveillance by the biologists as part of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee's Monitoring and Rapid Response Plan, aquarium officials said in a statement.

Researchers aren't sure how the fish ended up in the lagoon, but suspect they could have accidentally been introduced among other fish added to the lagoon, the statement said.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources regularly stocks the lagoon with bluegill, crappie, green sunfish, pumpkin seed, rock bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish, bullhead, and other kinds of carp, according to city's tourism website, ExploreChicago.org.

Bighead carp and silver carp are the most voracious of the Asian carp species and may consume much of the food that native fish would normally eat, according to the statement. Because of these large appetites, they can be the most harmful to native aquatic environments.

The algae- and plankton-eating Asian carp are believed to have been introduced fto the United States in the early 1970s from China to help clean fish farms in the south. However, they escaped into waterways and eventually made it to the Mississippi River and began moving north and into the Illinois River and other waterways.