Project aimed to eliminate invasive fish species unveils design in Michigan

The commission tasked with protecting the Great Lakes fishery unveiled the design for FishPass, a project that will come up with a way to filter out undesirable fish from waterways.

FishPass aimed at filtering out undesirable fish from the waterways

Fishermen out on the Detroit River Wednesday evening. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

A binational agency formed to protect the fishery on the Great Lakes unveiled the final design for a project aimed at filtering out invasive fish species from the waterways.

It's called FishPass, and it will be built next year on the Boardman River in Traverse City, Mich.

The design includes a fish sorting channel, where detection technology will hopefully identify fish species, in order to allow desired fish to pass, while restricting undesirable fish..

Marc Gaden, the communications director and legislative liaison for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, said scientists will be experimenting with different methods and technologies to identify the fish.

The commission hopes to use detection technology that is able to sort fish in the channel. (Great Lakes Fishery Commission)

"What we will be testing technology-wise is only limited by the imaginations of the scientists who will come forward over the next several years," said Gaden.

He said examples include using a type of facial recognition technology, using pheromones to lure fish into a trap or repel them away from the dam.

"What's really exciting is that we will build the structure, the tools, so that scientists can come, test their ideas, and hopefully identify something that will allow us to sort fish automatically so that we can pass the things we want to pass and block the things we want to block," said Gaden.

Michael Turner says he's happy to see anything to protect the native fish species in the Detroit River. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Angler Michael Turner was fishing on the Detroit River Wednesday. He welcomes anything that can protect the fish in the Great Lakes.

"This is relaxation and we want to catch the regular fish, like pickerel, the perch, the bass and we don't need any other species coming like those Asian carps," said Turner.

According to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, one sea lamprey, an invasive species, can destroy 40 pounds of native Great Lakes fish.

The commission hopes the FishPass project will help control nvasive fish populations around the world, once the experiment yields a final method for sorting the fish.

About the Author

Dale Molnar

Video Journalist

Dale Molnar is an award-winning video journalist at CBC Windsor. He is a graduate of the University of Windsor and has worked in television, radio and print.


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