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$55.5 million targeted for Asian carp shield

The Obama administration will spend $51.5 million this year to shield the Great Lakes from Asian carp, including first-time water sampling to determine whether the destructive fish have established a foothold in the lakes, officials said Thursday.

Officials released an updated strategy that also includes stepped-up trapping and netting in rivers that could provide access to the lakes, as well as initial field tests of scents that could lure carp to where they could be captured. An acoustic water gun that could scare carp from crucial locations will be tested near a Chicago shipping lock some want closed because it could serve as a doorway to Lake Michigan.

With this year's money, the federal government will have spent $156.5 million over three years against bighead and silver carp, imported from Asia decades ago. They have migrated up the Mississippi River and have advanced to within 55 miles of Lake Michigan.

Scientists differ about how widely they would spread in the Great Lakes, but under worst-case scenarios they could severely damage the $7 billion fishing industry.