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Asian carp can still be stopped, study says

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Some Asian carp probably have found their way into the Great Lakes, but there's still time to stop the dreaded invaders from becoming established and unraveling food chains that support a $7 billion fishing industry and sensitive ecosystems, according to a scientific report released Thursday.

The paper by experts who pioneered use of genetic data to search for the aggressive fish disagrees with government scientists who say many of the positive Asian carp DNA hits recorded in or near the lakes could have come from other sources, such as excrement from birds that fed on carp in distant rivers.

But, said Christopher Jerde of the University of Notre Dame, the lead author, "We can be cautiously optimistic . . . that we're not at the point where they'll start reproducing, spreading further and doing serious damage."

The fish have migrated northward in the Mississippi River and many tributaries since escaping from Deep South ponds in the 1970s. -- AP

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