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Ballast water could deliver next invaders

Killer Shrimp

SPICER — Ballast water discharged from ships in the Great Lakes could deliver the next invaders to Minnesota’s waters.

Aquatic Invasive Species known as golden mussels and killer shrimp are now known to infest waters that are part of shipping lanes in Europe and South America with traffic to the Great Lakes, according to Phyllis Green, superintendent of Isle Royale with the National Park Service. She is part of a NPS working committee looking at ways to treat ballast water and prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species to the Great Lakes.

The arrival of golden mussels would represent a “triple strike’’ for the Great Lakes, said Green when speaking at a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Roundtable held Jan. 11 in Bloomington.

The mussels colonize habitats that zebra mussels and quagga mussels do not. No different than zebra mussels and quagga mussels, golden mussels displace native mussel species.

Killer shrimp look like shrimp, but are actually a small, 1.2-inch crustacean. Their small size belies the menace they pose.

Green said they are indiscriminate killers that will literally attack and kill more prey than they can eat. “This thing doesn’t care if it is hungry or not. If it moves and it is its prey, it kills it.’’

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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