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Outdoors with Big Daddy: Asian Carp Spotters

5:56 PM, Aug 18, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Ohio Division of Wildlife enlists help of Lake Erie charter captains to search for invasive fish.

Every charter captain on Lake Erie is also a small business owner, so when the Ohio Division of Wildlife detected asian carp DNA in Lake Erie, hearts sank. But instead of jumping ship, the charter captains stepped up. They are the eyes on the water in the battle against this invader.

WKYC Photojournalist Carl "Big Daddy" Bachtel spent a few hours on the lake with one captain, John Babroski of Chartermax Charters. He's the President of the North Coast Charter Boat Association, a group of nearly 100 Lake Erie charter captains.

In a recent sweep of the Western end of Lake Erie, no fish were found but DNA was discovered. Officials believe it is from trucks hauling the fish to Canada, draining their water tanks into the lake.

Asian Carp have been detected in the Ohio River near Cincinnati, but populations have not established themselves as of yet. The fish have completely taken over the Mississippi River watershed where between 60 and 80 percent of the system's biomass is now asian carp. 

If the fish get into Lake Erie, the most fertile and biologically rich of the Great Lakes, it could devastate Ohio's multi-billion dollar tourism, boating, and sport and commercial fishing industries.

If you have suggestions on future stories or have a picture to share, send it to Carl at We may put it on the air!


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