Asian carp are closing in on Lake Michigan

A commercial fisherman pulled a live Asian carp out of a northern Illinois river last week about 9 miles from Lake Michigan, prompting a furious dragnet to determine whether more of the voracious fish have evaded electric barriers designed to keep them out of the Great Lakes.

The alarming discovery of an 8-pound, 28-inch adult silver carp comes as President Trump is proposing a federal budget that would gut funding for efforts to block Asian carp and other invasive species from the world’s largest body of fresh surface water.

The Trump administration also has refused to release a government study on new proposals to prevent carp from moving upstream from the Illinois River, where the fish already have wreaked havoc on the ecosystem.

This is the second time a live Asian carp has been found beyond three barriers in the Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville. The 2010 discovery of a bighead carp in Lake Calumet led to heated debates between Chicago-area business interests and officials in other Great Lakes states who tried unsuccessfully to force the closure of shipping locks that separate Lake Michigan from inland waterways.