Would you like to earn a million dollars? It could be easier than you think. Then again…
With the situation looking more grim every day, the State of Michigan has announced an innovative way to hopefully stem the invasion of bighead, silver and black carp into the Great Lakes. The State Legislature is prepared to reward innovative thinkers with $1 million if they can provide a solution to the looming crisis.
And the disaster is more imminent than it has ever been, with silver and bighead carp now showing up within 10 miles of the three electric barriers that were built to prevent them from entering Lake Michigan and thus, all of the Great Lakes via the Chicago Sanitary Canal.
The worry is that the fish are now so close that small carp will be able to hitch a ride in any one of the many industrial and commercial barges that ply the waterway and thus, avoid the barricades.
And make no mistake about it, what is at stake is huge. Are you ready for this: the water based recreation industry around the Great Lakes—including commercial and sport fishing—is worth billions and billions of dollars every year.
In the State of Michigan alone, the water-based tourism industry is valued at more than $38 billion dollars, which means you can probably triple or quadruple the figure when you add in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario—all jurisdictions that rely on the Great Lakes.
So the stakes are enormous—and the carp are winning.
Indeed, these are the same giant fish—they can exceed 100 pounds in weight—that most of us have seen on social media and television news reports leaping out of the water and endangering boaters.
Worse still, where they’ve gained a toe-hold in more southern and central US waters, they have virtually eliminated the native fish species like walleye, bass, yellow perch and muskies and altered, disrupted and changed the ecosystem.
If they wreck the same kind of havoc in the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system on the planet, the results will be beyond catastrophic. Hence the million dollar search for new and innovative solutions.
The challenge is global in scope, so anyone, anywhere, can submit a concept so long as it is supported with sound rationale.
It is worth noting, too, that reaching out this way to the global community is something that has been tested successfully by multinational companies like General Electric, who recently offered significant cash rewards to anyone who could design a simple bracket for an airplane engine that was lighter and stronger than what they were currently manufacturing.
They received 697 entries from companies, individuals and engineering graduate students from around the world and the top two entries—one from a third year engineering student in Hungary and the winner, a 21-year old engineer from Salatiga in Central Java, Indonesia—shocked the company with their ingenuity.
Let’s hope Michigan receives similar ideas, because if bighead, silver and black carp enter the Great Lakes, a lot of anglers may one day say, “Remember when… ”
For details on the Michigan Carp challenge, click HERE.