COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Ohio and six other states say they've asked 27 state attorneys general to help lobby for a permanent barrier to halt the spread of invasive Asian carp.
Officials in the Great Lakes region are hoping their support will pressure the federal government to stop the spread of the invasive species through Chicago-area shipping canals that link the Great Lakes and Mississippi drainage basins, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported Thursday.
A letter to the 27 states signed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called the issue "vital."
"We must halt the progress of aquatic invasive species across this country," DeWine's letter said.
Asian carp with their voracious appetites are feared because they could damage the Great Lakes ecosystem and destroy the region's $7 billion sport-fishing industry, authorities said.
Ohio and other Great Lakes states want the federal government to permanently "sever" the ecological connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi by sealing off the Chicago canals and reversing the flow of the Chicago River into Lake Michigan.
Businesses using the canals to ships goods are opposed to the proposal, saying closing the canal locks or permanently separating the waterways would cripple the region's economy.