DETROIT (WJBK) - In an effort to stop a species of killer fish from infiltrating the Great Lakes, Michigan's governor on Tuesday launched the "Invasive Carp Challenge," the state's latest response to the aggressive invaders.
Gov. Rick Snyder created the challenge to tap into the "creative minds of people" worldwide in solving the impending invasive carp -- also known as Asian carp -- crisis. Snyder says the state is accepting proposals for shielding the lakes from the invasive fish, which have infested the Mississippi River watershed.
"Invasive carp pose a serious and growing threat to the economy and ecology of our Great Lakes," Snyder said in a statement Tuesday. "The Invasive Carp Challenge will tap into the creativity and expertise of the entrepreneurial community to find the best ways to protect Michigan’s most prized natural resource."
Scientists say if they become established in the lakes, they could crowd out prized native species.
Scientists and engineers in the region are working on the problem. But the state wants to inspire creative thinkers worldwide to offer innovative solutions.
Officials will accept proposals in any phase of development, from concept to design to field-tested models. Written proposals will be accepted through Oct. 31. One or more winners will share up to $700,000 in cash awards.
Preventing invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes has been boggling officials' minds since the aggressive invaders first showed up in the Mississippi River. An electric barrier network was installed in waters heading toward Lake Michigan to prevent them from moving beyond.
The barrier has not always worked as a 28-inch long Asian carp was found in a Chicago waterway about nine miles from Lake Michigan in June.
The killer fish was imported from Asia in the 1960s to help cleanse algae from Deep South sewage treatment facilities and catfish farms. But the invasive carp moved past the area, pushing out native fish populations since infiltrating the Mississippi River, according to the Scientific American.
The Associated Press and Fox News contributed to this report.