What do you do when faced with the threat of an invasive fish species capable of eating 40% of its own weight in a day, weighing up to 60 pounds, and giving grown men concussions by flying into their heads? Naturally, you crank up the Bon Jovi and declare it open season.
Asian carp are fast-breeding, fast-eating monsters that quickly starve out native species. There are rivers in Illinois where the fish population is now 90% Asian carp. Bow hunting the suckers was simply a natural evolutionary step. In fact, the town of Bath, Illinois has an annual Redneck Fishing Tournament every year where participants attempt to catch Asian carp using anything BUT traditional fishing equipment.
All that aside, Asian carp really are serious business. Last week, fear of a carp-decimated Great Lakes prompted authorities to spend$3 million to poison the Chicago River so maintenance could be done on a $9 million electrified net that keeps the carp out of Lake Michigan. For a slightly more sober look at the threat of Asian carp (quotes about the fish smacking people in the head, and shots of a documentary host beating one carp with a stick keep things from getting too stuffy) I recommend watching the Asian Carp Invasion videos at AsianCarp.org.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.